Don’t Answer The Phone! And Other Advice About Robocalls

Robocalls are on the increase - don't answer the phone

It’s not your imagination: robocalls are on the increase. The volume of robocalls has risen sharply in 2016. Complaints are up. The government and big companies are taking new steps to try to rein in the scammers and perhaps tame the “legitimate” telemarketers. It may be a losing battle, because the scammers and nuisance telemarketers are leveraging new technology and taking advantage of decreasing costs of doing business. […] continued

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You Can’t Escape From A Ninja

You can't escape from a ninja

If you have any illusion that privacy means anything, forget it. If you are targeted for surveillance, there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Every keystroke on your computer will be logged. Everything you do on a phone – every message, every call, everything – will be intercepted. There are no tricks that will be sufficient to let you hide. […] continued

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The Real Stakes In The Apple vs FBI Standoff

The real stakes in the Apple vs FBI standoff

There are three points that are frequently overlooked in the debate about the FBI’s demand that Apple provide custom access to a terrorist’s locked iPhone.

  •  Apple is not defying a court order

  •  The FBI is seeking a broad precedent

  •  The tool requested by the FBI would compromise Apple in other countries

These are not the only issues in this debate. […] continued

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Lockdown: The Coming War On General Computing

Lockdown - The Coming War On General Purpose Computing - Cory Doctorow

Noted science fiction author and Boing Boing curator Cory Doctorow delivered an important speech last month in London, explaining why attempts by copyright owners to lock down computers and web sites inevitably lead to surveillance and censorship, and how the copyright battles presage bigger fights to come over the very future of general-purpose computers. […] continued

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In December the Transportation Security Administration released its airport security screening procedure guidelines with redactions that failed to remove the underlying text. (Boing Boing: “Unfortunately, the security geniuses at the DHS don’t know that drawing black blocks over the words you want to eliminate from your PDF doesn’t actually make the words go away, and can be defeated by nefarious al Qaeda operatives through a complex technique known as ctrl-a/ctrl-c/ctrl-v.”) […] continued

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If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

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On March 9 the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed that the FBI has been systematically abusing its expanded power to issue “national security letters” and obtain private information about US citizens and residents from telephone companies, Internet service providers, banks, credit providers, and other businesses.

Between 2003 and 2005 the FBI issued more than 140,000 specific demands, without a showing of probable cause or prior judicial approval, to obtain potentially sensitive information about U.S. […] continued

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An amusing technology note from the debate last night. Dick Cheney responded to charges about Halliburton by urging viewers to go to “, an independent Web site sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, [to] get the specific details with respect to Halliburton.”

Cheney misspoke. He meant “” […] continued

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I’m a fan of politically correct speech. I think it’s important to avoid using expressions that perpetuate stereotypes, even if it’s reasonably clear that the words are meant kindly or inoffensively.


Following complaints by someone within the bureaucracy, the County of Los Angeles has ordered vendors to discontinue use of the words “master/slave” to describe two hard drives sharing a cable. […] continued

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MSNBC has a wonderful article about an unexpected side effect of global warming – huge ice blocks, 22 lbs or more, which form in the upper atmosphere on clear days and fall to earth, smashing car windshields and ripping holes in houses. Don’t look at me like that – I’m serious. […] continued

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More interesting reading at The Register: a deeply cynical article bashing the press for repeating stories about alleged threats of cyberterrorism. The government is beating the drums about the likelihood that al-Quaeda technology whizzes are about to level cities from their computers, or something like that. The press is repeating the stories without any investigation, corroboration, or thought. […] continued

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According to the Center for Responsible Politics, the Bells – Qwest, BellSouth, SBC Communications and Verizon – have contributed about $19.4 million to congressional campaigns since 1999.

Slightly less huge companies such as AT&T, Sprint and Worldcom have spent about $12.6 million over the same period.

Congress today gave away the store to the bigger contributors. […] continued

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I thought this was a particularly good discussion of the unfolding Enron scandal, well worth keeping in mind as the various players stake out their positions on the front page for the next six or eight months. It begins as a comparison of Whitewater and Enron at the same stage:

“I would argue that Enron is neither worse nor better than Whitewater at a similar stage of development.

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