John Strosnider’s Techdirt Profile

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  • Oct 21st, 2018 @ 1:05pm

    Every Single Week!

    Here you go again. You put up a post entitled "Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt", yet the post is really "Most Insightful/Funniest Comments Of The Week At Techdirt"

    Why do you mislead me again and again to think that this will be the week you lead with the funny?

  • Aug 16th, 2018 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Is it a Thing or a Trade-off? It's neither

    Wow! You, sir, may have just set a record for how quickly and how completely you can misunderstand a comment.

    I did not suggest you needed to buy your freedom. I was commenting that giving up privacy costs you. And, it is usually a significant cost.

    In fact, since we're now talking about freedom, I would assert NOT giving up your privacy preserves your freedom--the exact opposite of what you were suggesting.

  • Aug 14th, 2018 @ 11:34am

    Is it a Thing or a Trade-off? It's neither

    While I think the Thing vs. Trade-off concept has value, it's too abstract to think in terms of a trade-off. It might be easier to approach privacy as a price.

    Just as the price I pay to go to the store to pick up a tub of Chunky Monkey includes the fact that people will see where I go, when I go there, how I got there, what I bought and just how bad my fashion sense is, the price I pay for using the internet is much more than the $90 or so per month I pay Cox for the connection.

    Even worse, the cost for using a "free" service such as Facebook includes practically all my internet activity: websites visited, emails sent, emails received, torrents accessed, searches performed and how many 55-gallon drums of lube I have bought from Amazon. And, don't forget the metadata: when and how often I log on, how long I spend on each page, how much data I consume, etc.

    The problem lies in valuing this information. I think most people undervalue it, likely due to not understanding the consequences of this data gathering. So, let's project out a few years and see where all this leads to.

    Companies will start using AI (if they're not already) to analyze this data and take action. Imagine that an AI notices that I seem to be preparing to take a vacation. This AI uses Google Duplex-style technology to call me up and let me know that it has some excellent deals on vacation packages. Before I know it, I'm sitting in a timeshare presentation. How much do you think a timeshare company would pay for such a pre-qualified lead?

    Or, the AI notices that people who move from larger digs to smaller ones many times end up buying a shed for the backyard because they need the extra space. So it contacts people right after they move and recommends not only a shed with "free" installation, but where to put it in the yard and a color scheme that matches the new house. Then, it schedules delivery of the materials and a construction crew to install it. Now, you've got the AI doing the actual selling and making all the commission for the company that owns the AI.

    These are the "ethical" uses of this private information. How long until AI is calling up married, rich philanderers with the name and date of every hotel check in along with video from insecure video cameras of him and his various dates walking in to the hotel asking for hush money so that the wifey doesn't find out. Using facial recognition, the AI can double-dip by pulling the same thing on any of his dates that are married or dating. And, of course, the monetary demands will be set according to income.

    Today, the above is still in the realm of science-fiction, but in 10 or 15 years, I expect they will be commonplace.

    So, how do we avoid such scenarios? I'm not sure that we can. But, if there is a solution, it will likely require more than a "data bank" that is controllable by the user. (Nice idea, BTW, but wholly inadequate for the above scenarios.) It will likely require completely re-architecting the internet itself to bake privacy into the protocols.

    So, ultimately, it's not a trade-off. It is a very high price that we are paying. The more that people realize how high a price that can be, the less they will be willing to share their information for any benefit whatsoever.

  • May 9th, 2018 @ 10:08am

    Re: Silly people

    No. Pie are round. Cornbread are square.

  • Apr 26th, 2018 @ 5:09pm

    No Nerd Harder Needed

    Congress doesn't need to get anyone to nerd harder and make a backdoor, they can just use the one tool they already have at their disposal: legislation.

    They just need to pass a law that requires everything to be stored twice with one copy encrypted with your private key and a separate identical copy with the government's public key. Then, they'll be able to read whatever they want.

    Just pass a law, congress! After all, that's how you solved the war on drugs, eliminated terrorism and stopped all mass shootings!

  • Aug 3rd, 2017 @ 8:06pm

    I wonder what the Bar Association thinks about this

    Wouldn't threatening another lawyer--in writing, no less!--be grounds for Van Dyke to get disbarred?

  • Mar 11th, 2016 @ 12:36am

    Two thoughts

    I have two separate thoughts on this issue:

    First, you would make a decision on linking or not linking only once--at the time of publication. However, since articles on Techdirt live on forever, this ignores the reality that site can and do change their policies. The site you link to today, may start blocking tomorrow. Likewise, the site you choose not to link to, may see the light and stop blocking at some point. Now, your link/not-link policy is out of sync with reality.

    Second, it seems to me that Techdirt readers can be categorized into three groups with regards to ad blocking: 1) those that do not use ad blockers, 2) those who use them in "set it and forget it" mode, and 3) those who adjust and tweak their ad blocker constantly based on which sites we wish to support/block ad on. If you choose not to link to a site based on their ad block blocking policy, all three groups are hurt, albeit to different degrees. Group 1 would have seen the content and are apparently OK with seeing the ads. A link would have been better for this group. Group 2 won't know that the site would have blocked them. I think greater awareness of which sites are blocking is an overall good thing. Group 3 is the most hurt by this policy since we have invested time and energy is setting up the block as we choose. To not link to a site prevents us from leveraging that effort. I would imagine that loyal Techdirt readers fall into group 3 more often than not.

    The bottom line is that I see no positives to not linking to a site and several negatives. If anything, simply add a short disclaimer similar to what you do for articles that are behind a paywall.

    All the above assumes that there is no other equivalent article on a site that doesn't block ad block users.

  • Mar 20th, 2015 @ 9:23pm

    Re: Re: Separate the HW from the SW

    Cisco's SW would not be accessing the added hardware, so somehow the NSA's hardware would need to be able to inject packets into the outgoing traffic without disrupting the underlying software. While I suppose that's technically possible, that seems extremely unfeasible especially if they want it to continue working with future firmware updates. It also seems like something that a firmware update could easily detect and disable once Cisco became aware of such a modification.

  • Mar 20th, 2015 @ 5:53pm

    Separate the HW from the SW

    It seems to me that it would be better to ship the devices unflashed and let the client go to Cisco's website, download the firmware, verify it against published hashes, and flash the device themselves. Then, it wouldn't matter if the NSA had intercepted it en route. Wouldn't that be cheaper and more effective than double-shipping the hardware?

  • Jul 29th, 2014 @ 10:22am

    Listening vs. paying

    It seems like they and their ilk are saying, "We don't want you to listen to our music--just pay for it."

  • Nov 15th, 2005 @ 8:28pm

    Use Bloglines

    Your RSS feed via Bloglines.com is fine, and, as far as I'm concerned, there is no better way to aggregate RSS feeds than bloglines.com. If you haven't tried it, you should. (And, no I'm not affiliated with them in any way--just a happy user.)