Malor’s Techdirt Profile

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  • Aug 31st, 2013 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re:

    No, because you know *someone* owns them, and you're depriving that person of the use of their item.

    If, however, you were able to wave your hand and make an exact copy of the electronics you found laying in their house, without changing the original electronics in any way, would that be theft?

    What harm would have been done, and to whom?

    Unauthorized enjoyment is not a crime.

  • Aug 21st, 2013 @ 2:48am

    (untitled comment)

    > Irrational fear is one of the government's biggest allies, whether it's the DHS or a local police force. Claiming bad things will happen keeps bad laws and policies in place. As long as the laws and policies stay on the books and "bad things" fail to happen, officials are constantly "proven" right.

    It's important to note that the same agency making the claims about violent crime going up will also be generating the statistics about violent crime going up.... and we've watched The Wire. A lot of the things they showed were absolutely real, and one of them was the way the police and politicians screw with the crime stats to make themselves look good.

    The same shit they pull to 'reduce' the crime rate can be used in reverse just as easy. So they will be absolutely be 'proven right', no matter what the actual outcome is. They'll make certain.

  • Aug 10th, 2013 @ 10:34am

    (untitled comment)

    But I should also emphasize: storing data in your own home gives you a *lot* more protection than any other method. There's lots more data you could have than just simple email, and if you're storing the data on hardware owned by other people, particularly if it's shared access on a single machine, then your protections against search and seizure are almost nil.

    Keeping your data in your house *probably* means they'll need a warrant to get at it, although with the way they keep redefining things, maybe they'll be able to just hit you with a worm program instead.

  • Aug 10th, 2013 @ 10:32am

    (untitled comment)

    I've been an advocate of 'be your own cloud' for quite awhile, and have in fact been doing it myself for years and years, because I didn't trust the cloud providers. (I thought Google was snooping, not the government.)

    But one thing we truly need to understand, here, is that email is not encrypted, and the NSA has taps all over the Internet. Even if it's encrypted on your local drives, and the NSA would need a warrant to break into your house and read it, it's not encrypted in transit. The NSA can snarf it right off the wire, store it in their huge new data center in Utah, read and analyze every word at their leisure, and track all your acquaintances. If they miss the mail in transit, great, the home cloud will give you a lot of protection, but they probably won't miss it in transit.

    In addition to running our own clouds, we also need to redo the SMTP protocol to include some kind of encryption that's not easily hijacked; I suspect that some kind of distributed 'watch system' for self-signed certificates would probably work fairly well, making it hard for the NSA to do man-in-the-middle attacks without people noticing. It would be nice to also get GPG mail going on a wider basis, but that requires attention by end-users, where SMTP-level protocol encryption will prevent casual snooping.

    Basically, we need to rebuild a lot of the Internet. Not the physical wires, but the protocols; we need to move to encrypted traffic by default, all the time, everywhere, in every protocol except probably games. Hell, even there, we probably want text messages between players encrypted -- witness that one kid who went to jail for months because of game trash-talking.

  • Aug 6th, 2013 @ 7:43am

    Re: Skewed perceptions

    It is always the duty of any government employee to refuse unlawful orders, and to report on illegalities that the government is engaged in, no matter how uncomfortable the government is made as a result.

    Snowden had the courage to live up to his true oath, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the hired staff presently in charge of the government supporting that Constitution.

  • Aug 6th, 2013 @ 3:30am

    (untitled comment)

    Obama apparently cannot distinguish between communicating information to the enemy and communicating information to the press,” Mr. Goodale wrote. “The former is espionage, the latter is not.”

    But, if you combine this with the fact that who we're at war with is now classified:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/26/pentagon-war-classified_n_3659353.html?utm_h p_ref=world&ir=World

    it makes perfect sense. The American people are the enemy.

    You may think I'm kidding. You may think I'm paranoid. The latter may be true, but I think I'm absolutely correct, and that history will prove me out.

    All this surveillance state stuff isn't to protect you from terrorists. It's to protect the government from you.

    Over the short to medium term, only those with 'acceptable outlooks', according to those doing the surveillance, will be able to prosper in politics, because people who disagree with the surveillance state will, mysteriously, be ruined. Old contacts will pop up to impugn them, or damning facts will 'accidentally be unearthed' by news agencies. They'll be able to pinpoint your opinion on surveillance almost exactly, because they'll be able to track your whole social network. And, if you or any of your friends have ever been deemed "interesting", they'll be able to read almost everything electronic you've ever sent to anyone. If your opinions aren't acceptable, your missteps from your past will mysteriously arise to dog you. If you support vast surveillance, then you'll sail right through, while your saner opponents struggle and fail as 'coincidences' keep piling up.

    Those who don't like the surveillance state will not have viable political careers in this country, no matter how good they might otherwise be.

    Eventually, the subtle sabotage will start to become obvious, as the bureaucracy gets lazy and/or stupid, but by then the policies and procedures will be so ingrained in the government that it will be impossible to root out except through a total overthrow of the entire system -- and that's precisely what all these programs are explicitly designed to make impossible.

    If you are an American, you are living in a police state. If you're a racial minority, you probably already know it, but if you're white, you probably haven't internalized it yet. That doesn't make it not true, it just means you haven't caught up.

  • Jul 24th, 2013 @ 3:58pm

    (untitled comment)

    Despite the myth, students do not leave their constitutional rights at the doorway of their public school.

    That's actually not a myth. Students have been getting the short end of the stick for decades. While at school, they're better off than, say, federal prisoners, but not by as much as one might expect. Some schools are probably worse.

    In this case, the student was making a simple statement of fact, and the overall outcome here was correct. But if he had, for instance, directly named another student as being unacceptable, then I think it's extremely unlikely he'd have won his case. School administrators have ridiculous latitude.

    I think that's very wrongheaded, but it seems to be quite rare for courts to override administrative decisions about things that happen on school grounds. Typically, administrators only get slapped when they try to control kids off school grounds.

    This case came out well, but from what I've seen, the kid got lucky to get a discerning judge. Perhaps his family was able to hire a good lawyer, something that's not really an option for so many of the kids abused by our educational systems. And, from the sound of his name, he probably had a huge advantage over many of the other abused students: not much melanin in his skin.

    This is what happens to black students:

    http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/16-year-old-girl-arrested-and-charged-felony-sc ience-project-mistake

    She ended up okay, but only because of the media attention. If this had stayed off the larger radar, her school record would have been ruined.

  • Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:17pm

    (untitled comment)

    Their argument seems to boil down to this: Nintendo asserts it has the right not to let you play its games.

    Someone really needs to take a rolled-up newspaper to Nintendo of America.

    And that's before you take your excellent points about the impact on Nintendo into consideration, the fact that the very last thing gaming companies should be doing is trying to prevent people from playing their games.

    Right at the very start, the thing is crazy.

  • Jun 28th, 2013 @ 5:50am

    (untitled comment)

    Maybe I'm missing something, but I thought the point of families in this game was to make kids of your own bloodline to carry the fight forward? (Maybe I'm mixing that up with Rogue Legacy?)

    If the major game mechanic is indeed having offspring, wouldn't same-sex couples mean the game would automatically end? Yeah, you could adopt, but then you're losing out on the whole genetic bloodline mechanic.

    I dunno, it seems to me that, given the constraints involved, putting same-sex couples into the game is trying to force a specific worldview into a place where it doesn't really fit.

  • Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Re:

    Argh, I completely misread the quote. Duh. Sorry.

  • Jun 27th, 2013 @ 7:44am

    (untitled comment)

    After all, isn't EFF defending basic Constitutional freedoms that Americans hold dear, and which our government is supposed to be protecting?

    Of course not. That's what they say in public, but with secret laws and a secret interpretation of the Constitution, their real purpose is not known. It can't be known.

    You must derive what their goals must be from the actions they take, and I submit that mass surveillance is not about finding terrorists, it's about finding dissidents.

    These programs are not to protect you from terrorists, it's to protect them from you. And if you think otherwise, well, secret laws.

  • Jun 26th, 2013 @ 7:50pm

    Re: It doesn't seem to occur to anybody

    Again, this is part of the systemic protections that are being set up to stop dissent, and to get people used to being searched.

    The No Fly List is a lousy tool against terrorists, but it and the other TSA garbage is a freaking great tool against dissidents.

    See: Occupy movement. Had the severe beatings not convinced them to go home, this sort of thing would have been next on the list.

  • Jun 26th, 2013 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Unless you are willing to challenge it in a court, or you are a part of the Supreme Court, NO ONE CARES about your specific opinion. (well some might, but they don't matter either).

    You're right that they don't care much about my opinion individually. But laws can be changed with enough popular support, and these programs are explicitly designed to disrupt and destroy the networks needed to form that popular support. They're also tailor-made for destroying charismatic individuals.

    Think about Martin Luther King a little. Do you seriously think the civil rights movement would have succeeded if the government had had these powers at the time? He and his entire network would be in prison or in forgotten graves, and blacks would still be second-class citizens.

    This is the real reason they're going after these powers. It's not to protect you from terrorists. It's to protect them from you.

  • Jun 26th, 2013 @ 4:20pm

    (untitled comment)

    Another way of putting that: the surveillance becomes the justification for the surveillance; the abuse makes more abuse possible.

  • Jun 26th, 2013 @ 4:18pm

    (untitled comment)

    Note that they did the same thing with Wikileaks; they got the general public focused on Assange, instead of the cables, and then trumped up a ridiculous case in Sweden to try to get their hands on him.

    This is what happens when the spy agencies decide they don't like someone. And that's much of why this massive surveillance is so scary. If the government becomes at all annoyed with you, they can dissect your entire electronic life, going back forever, and use it to discredit or destroy you. Voila, no more threat, secret surveillance state preserved.

    Just how much of what these papers are publishing is coming from the NSA?

  • Jun 26th, 2013 @ 4:15pm

    (untitled comment)

    This is the normal approach for intelligence agencies. This has been going on since the Pentagon Papers. They do it because it works.

    Any outlet that publishes one of these is an outlet you know is in bed with the secret police.

  • Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 4:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Gmail is encrypted

    He was straight and direct. He just wasn't truthful.

  • Jun 21st, 2013 @ 6:27pm

    Re:

    Or is it just the general public they are concerned with?

    Primarily, people they think are threats to the government. This includes, of course, political activists, and probably even people they think might someday become activists.

    Remember how Pol Pot used to kill people with glasses, because anyone with learning was a threat to his regime? The NSA will have people just like that working for them; in any organization that large, it's guaranteed. And some will eventually come into positions of power, if they haven't already.

    Do you really want a mini-Pol Pot having full access to anything you've ever said electronically to anyone?

  • Jun 20th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    (untitled comment)

    Oh, and as I've said before, these programs aren't to protect the government from terrorists, they're to protect the government from you.

  • Jun 20th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    (untitled comment)

    Right, so what this boils down to is, "We can target anyone we like, but we're very limited in what we can keep: only things we find interesting."

    Possible evidence of a crime is basically almost everything you ever say or do, since there are so many laws that we don't even know about, including secret laws that we are not allowed to know.

    The only reason to archive this stuff is so that, if you become annoying later, particularly if you start campaigning against, say, unlimited spying by government, they can discredit or destroy you.

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