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  • Sep 30th, 2016 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Stupid question from the EU

    As other people have said in these comments: these are the city's poles. It's the equipment that's already on the poles that belongs to the companies, and that's what the companies are saying no one should be allowed to touch (i.e., move around to make room for new stuff) without their permission.

  • Sep 30th, 2016 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Unfortunately, I think that does lose meaningful amounts of nuance; without the contextual indication that I'm referring specifically to causes which they have backed during the campaign to date (which carries the subtextual implication that they may have backed some of those causes insincerely, only to raise support), it leaves more room for them to deliver a nonresponsive answer which can be plausibly claimed to address the question that was actually presented.

    I have compressed the question itself down to something that's nearly short enough (the limit is 80 characters), but I'm reluctant to submit it in that form. This is probably related to one of the principles which define my approach to life: "if you're not going to do something right, you shouldn't bother to do it at all". (In practice, that's a goal, which frequently has to be compromised on for the sake of actually getting things done - but it does sum up my feelings on such matters fairly well.)

  • Sep 29th, 2016 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Not the whole story

    I define something as DRM if it would fail two specific, somewhat detailed tests, which can be somewhat loosely summarized as "install and run normally, from a backup of the installer, on a deserted island with no network access".

    By that definition, at a glance, I would have to say that indeed this does not look like DRM. Malware, definitely, yes - and if the company can push out an update such that you can't run (or newly install) the game without accepting the update which installs the malware, that's a problem of its own, which could indeed qualify as DRM. But the behavior of the code which was pushed out by this update does not sound like DRM to me.

    (Examples of a mechanism which would qualify as DRM which would not fail that test would be interesting to me; if you know of any, please do share them.)

  • Sep 29th, 2016 @ 7:11am


    I'm told that 4chan and some of the Reddit subcommunities have campaigns going to upvote questions designed to make Hillary Clinton look bad; on the other hand, most of these questions are unlikely to get chosen to be asked, since the rule is that questions must be suitable to be asked of either candidate (so questions about "your private E-mail server" don't qualify).

    I've come up with a question which several people have told me is a good one and worth asking, but unfortunately it doesn't fit in their submission form, due both to the length limits and to the requirement to choose a particular topic category for the question. I've E-mailed the contact address to ask if there's a way to submit it anyway, but I don't have great hopes of getting a response.

    The question itself is, in not-actually-a-question form, something like:

    You've spoken out strongly in support of many causes during your campaign, and the polls seem to show that the election is likely to be very close.

    Please name at least one of these causes which you intend to continue fighting for even if you lose the election, and explain how you intend to do that.

    I think the answers could help shed light on the candidates' character, temperament, motivations, and dedication, among possibly other things.

  • Sep 28th, 2016 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Can't be regulatory

    Amusingly enough, my understanding is that the NSA was similarly created to be a central coordination and analysis entity for the existing intelligence agencies - to take in, analyze, and (if and/or as suitable) disseminate the intelligence which the other agencies gather, and specifically not to do any intelligence-gathering of its own.

    If that's accurate, it seems fairly clear that they've diverged pretty far from that ideal... and it would seem unsurprising for the DHS to do the same.

  • Sep 25th, 2016 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re:

    Unfortunately, no. I've seen it discussed in the past, and I believe there were links involved, but I didn't keep any of them.

    I can't speak for other people, of course, but the reason I'm not entirely comfortable with the practice is that - so far as I understand matters - there's currently no way for the provider to determine which packets to handle in which way except by inspecting the contents of the packets, so this can't currently be done without violating the neutrality principles at least in concept.

    (I can't swear there isn't a way to do it without that, even currently much less in "someone could design one" nebulous form, but I don't know of any.)

    That said, some providers actually do do this, right now - or at least they claimed to, when I last saw the matter being discussed. I don't have any references for that either just offhand, however.

  • Sep 24th, 2016 @ 3:34pm

    (untitled comment)

    Zero rating an internal service (because it's sourced inside their own network) doesn't violate the rules of net neutrality.

    The source of the data doesn't matter; "inside the network" is still on the network, and the network needs to treat all data passing over it neutrally, regardless of where that data comes from or where it is going.

    As soon as your network equipment starts paying attention to things like where the data came from originally, or where the data's ultimate destination is - much less what the actual content of the data is - beyond the bare minimum needed to perform proper routing, you are violating the principle that the network should be (content-, provider-, and recipient-)neutral.

    Now, that's an approximation of the absolutist version; in practice, there can be some degree of flexibility to allow for traffic shaping, so that e.g. data which needs fast response (e.g. realtime communication) can be given lower ping times at the expense of also getting lower throughput. That's the absolute farthest that it can go, however, and even that needs to be based on explicit user request for this particular traffic to be handled differently; ideally this would be done by something like an optional label, which the network is explicitly permitted to look at if it is present.

  • Sep 23rd, 2016 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Idiot

    Math is not numbers.

    Math is the manipulation of numbers.

  • Sep 23rd, 2016 @ 8:40am

    Re: Whom to blame...

    That would seem to suggest that the actual objection here is that Lenovo does not provide a configuration toggle for whether or not the storage controller should be in RAID mode.

    My experience seems to indicate that this sort of toggle is a nearly universal feature for every system that supports a hardware RAID mode within the past several years, if not the past decade or more. The decision to omit it is one worth questioning.

  • Sep 22nd, 2016 @ 4:40am


    Slight correction: the purpose of copyright is to increase the amount of content available to the public, not merely the amount of content created. That is, it's supposed to be an incentive not merely to create content, but to release it - to publish a book, rather than e.g. leaving the only copy of your manuscript in a box in the attic to be destroyed by water damage from a roof leak ten years after you die.

    Everything else you mentioned is correct.

  • Sep 21st, 2016 @ 9:10am

    Re: fair play

    Because an FBI agent has authority backed by force of law, whereas a journalist has only the authority of custom and persuasion. Thus, a journalist impersonating an FBI agent is arrogating to him- or herself an authority to which he or she is not entitled (and falsely pretending that failure to cooperate may result in negative governmental action), whereas an FBI agent impersonating a journalist is only drawing on the courtesy which many people choose to voluntarily grant to journalists.

    Or something like that.

  • Sep 13th, 2016 @ 6:35am

    Removal link update

    A year and a half later, the provided link for the Lenovo removal-instructions PDF is now a 404; as best I can tell, the official removal instructions and list of affected products from Lenovo are now at: erfish-application/ta-p/2029206

    That page does not itself actually explain how to remove Superfish, but it does link to two separate pages for that purpose, one of which provides a dedicated removal tool.

  • Sep 12th, 2016 @ 7:50am

    Wrong URL on the Watson link?

    The links on the Watson piece point to, which appears to be a website related to an e-cigarette (vaping) product. Did the wrong URL get put in here, somehow?

  • Sep 12th, 2016 @ 7:40am

    Re: "Third party doctrine"

    Since this hasn't been answered in the intervening year-and-a-half, here's my understanding of the logic underlying the use of the term "third party" in this context.

    The first party is the one to whom the "papers and effects" in question belong.

    The second party is the one who is looking to gain access to those same items - i.e., the government.

    If this second party demanded them from the first party, the first party would have a right under the Fourth Amendment to refuse; if the second party tried to access them in the first party's possession without permission, or tried to take them from the first party without permission, that would be a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

    The third party is the one to whom the first party has voluntarily provided those same items.

    The Third Party Doctrine holds A: that since these items do not belong to this third party, the third party does not have a Fourth Amendment right to refuse the second party's demand to see or obtain them, and if the second party were to access them without permission that would not be a violation of the Fourth Amendment, and B: that since the first party voluntarily provided the items to the third party, the first party does not have a Fourth Amendment right to preclude the third party from handing them over.

    Thereby neatly precluding anyone from having a Fourth Amendment right to object to the second party's obtaining these items.

  • Sep 9th, 2016 @ 11:02am


    Net Neutrality does not apply to content delivered internal to a given ISPs network, only to the interconnections.
    This is not true.

    Net Neutrality, in its purest form, means that the network in question does not know or care what the data traveling over it is, or where that data comes from or is going to; all the network cares about is how to most efficiently get the data to the place where it exits that network, on its way to whatever its final destination may be. The next hop may be another network, or it may be the machine which is the final destination; again, a neutral network neither knows nor cares which.

    If the ISP is checking the in-flight data enough to be able to tell whether or not it is from an internal source, the ISP is already violating the principle that the network should be neutral.

  • Sep 6th, 2016 @ 5:21am


    Just for the record, a year and a half or so later: my understanding is that this is actually a quirk in the local law. More specifically, nder the law of that state, the "refusing to obey lawful order of a police officer" statute is also the "resisting arrest" statute - and, consequently, any arrest for "refusing to obey lawful order" is classified under the law as "resisting arrest".

  • Sep 3rd, 2016 @ 9:48am

    Not the first time people have been confused by the "Copyright" topic icon

    The last image includes a statement that "in a decade of using these topic icons, no one has ever confused [the Copyright topic icon] for [a copyright notice]".

    That's not actually true. Sometime in the past two years, one of the usual trolls - I think it was out_of_the_blue - attempted to "gotcha" you by pointing out that a particular story was labeled as "Copyright by Mike Masnick", pointing to the topic label, which did include those words in that order; at least one person (who may or may not have been you) pointed out in response that this was the topic label, not a copyright notice, and (IIRC) the guy unsurprisingly never responded.

    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to track down the exact article for reference; however, in trying to do so, I did find a Reddit thread in which someone made the same mistake: he/

    So it's happened at least twice in the past few years, prior to this current flap. Not terribly frequent, but still more often than "no one has ever".

  • Sep 2nd, 2016 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Respect is earned, not granted by position.

    My position / argument on the question of respect is:

    No one deserves respect by default, until they show that they do deserve it.

    Everyone deserves courtesy by default, until they show that they don't deserve it.

    (Also, I'd probably back the idea that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt by default, until they show that they don't. There's room to convince me otherwise on that one, though.)

  • Aug 28th, 2016 @ 10:37am

    Re: Can anyone say 'Conflict of interest'?

    On the other hand, if you split attack and defense into two agencies, there becomes room for the funding levels of the two to diverge; you could easily wind up with the "attack" agency getting far more funding than the "defense" one, to the point where the latter can't effectively do its job.

    Combine that with the fact that you'd end up with two separate organizations spending money to do duplicate research into the same thing - security vulnerabilities - and it's easy to see why someone might decide that having a single agency with both mandates is the better alternative.

    If the oversight weren't so biased in favor of the attack side, it might even have worked out.

  • Aug 26th, 2016 @ 6:29am

    (untitled comment)

    Beyond the alleged backing of Trump, there's more to be gained than simply pointing out the media's transparent disdain for the Republican candidate. There are also leaked -- but unreleased -- documents stored on agencies' servers.
    Wasn't the NYT one of the news organizations which received the Snowden documents? Most of which, reportedly, have not been released.

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