Tech at Night

On a multi-user computer system, different user accounts have different permissions. In most Unix-based systems, there is a special account besides. Account zero, the ‘root’ user, bypasses all permissions checks. The Chinese attackers had root access to Office of Personnel Management servers.

But NSA was the real threat ah, Rand Paul?

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Tech at Night: Dueling bills on patents and sales tax

On June 16, 2015, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

It’s never a good sign when a piece of legislation is a major priority for lobbyists, but that’s what comprehensive patent reform is. It’s time ACU and HAFA scored against it.

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Tech at Night

Bad news first: The Senate passed a comprehensive patent bill, and now the House is checking on it. ACU is coming out strongly against a comprehensive bill, to which I say: Bravo.

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Tech at Night

I know it’s been a while since we talked about it but Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet is coming. It’s a terrible plan and we’ve got to stop it.

It’s not helping the Internet. After all, this same administration decided against search neutrality. Why pick winners and losers this way? I’ll leave you to guess why the thing Google didn’t want, didn’t get done, and the thing Google wanted, got done.

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Tech at Night: Weekend Update

On June 6, 2015, in General, by Neil Stevens

Good post by Moe Lane on Edward Snowden and the Glenns Greenwald. Snowden is now outraged that NSA would target foreign (read: Russian) hackers.

Gee, who’s paying his rent again?

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Tech at Night

One of the basic rules of intellectual property is that we can’t ever count on other countries to protect Americans. Even New Zealand can be bought off (Kim Dotcom has made large donations to the NZ government in exchange for being shielded from prosecution).

So it’s a problem of Comprehensive Patent Reform won’t protect Americans against foreign thieves. That’s just one reason conservatives are increasingly lining up against comprehensive patent bills.

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Tech at Night

Rand Paul wants you to think that large-scale data mining on (publicly available) metadata is a horrible thing, and a massive threat to your privacy. Even when that data gathering is done with a warrant.

So it shows just how disingenuous his whole stunt was, that he’s doing his own privacy-threatning database building. His supporters have been duped. He was grandstanding with the national interest in order to support his Presidential campaign.

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Ross Ulbricht, aka the Dread Pirate Roberts, founded an online crime syndicate using the Tor network. Drugs, human trafficking, guns, and even possibly murder for hire were traded in the network. He was caught, and he got life in prison.

These are the threats, not monitoring terrorists.

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Tech at Night

Yeah, at this point Rand Paul is pretty much running as Hillary Clinton-lite. You see, through various intelligence programs, the US government is able to identify foreign terrorist organizations. When those terrorists then contact folks in the United States, we have legitimate reason to know who they’re talking to, so NSA has developed means of sifting that information.

And yet here we are, 13 and change years after 9/11, a “Republican” Senator Rand Paul cheering with Democrat Barack Obama that they tag-teamed to kill the program.

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Tech at Night

Part of the USA PATRIOT act ensured NSA could spy on conversations foreigners were having, that involved data passing into America. After 9/11, when terrorist cells came here and murdered many Americans, we understood the need for that.

Well, some Republicans remembered, but Rand Paul forgot, and it sounds like Paul won.

I wonder if the Islamic State will send flowers to thank him.

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