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Wizard of Id by Parker and Hart for Wed, 18 Mar 2020

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Wizard of Id by Parker and Hart on Wed, 18 Mar 2020

Source - Patreon

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zippy72
4 minutes ago
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Rat? From Pearls Before Swine? What is this, a crossover episode?
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The EARN-IT Act

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Prepare for another attack on encryption in the U.S. The EARN-IT Act purports to be about protecting children from predation, but it's really about forcing the tech companies to break their encryption schemes:

The EARN IT Act would create a "National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention" tasked with developing "best practices" for owners of Internet platforms to "prevent, reduce, and respond" to child exploitation. But far from mere recommendations, those "best practices" would be approved by Congress as legal requirements: if a platform failed to adhere to them, it would lose essential legal protections for free speech.

It's easy to predict how Attorney General William Barr would use that power: to break encryption. He's said over and over that he thinks the "best practice" is to force encrypted messaging systems to give law enforcement access to our private conversations. The Graham-Blumenthal bill would finally give Barr the power to demand that tech companies obey him or face serious repercussions, including both civil and criminal liability. Such a demand would put encryption providers like WhatsApp and Signal in an awful conundrum: either face the possibility of losing everything in a single lawsuit or knowingly undermine their users' security, making all of us more vulnerable to online criminals.

Matthew Green has a long explanation of the bill and its effects:

The new bill, out of Lindsey Graham's Judiciary committee, is designed to force providers to either solve the encryption-while-scanning problem, or stop using encryption entirely. And given that we don't yet know how to solve the problem -- and the techniques to do it are basically at the research stage of R&D -- it's likely that "stop using encryption" is really the preferred goal.

EARN IT works by revoking a type of liability called Section 230 that makes it possible for providers to operate on the Internet, by preventing the provider for being held responsible for what their customers do on a platform like Facebook. The new bill would make it financially impossible for providers like WhatsApp and Apple to operate services unless they conduct "best practices" for scanning their systems for CSAM.

Since there are no "best practices" in existence, and the techniques for doing this while preserving privacy are completely unknown, the bill creates a government-appointed committee that will tell technology providers what technology they have to use. The specific nature of the committee is byzantine and described within the bill itself. Needless to say, the makeup of the committee, which can include as few as zero data security experts, ensures that end-to-end encryption will almost certainly not be considered a best practice.

So in short: this bill is a backdoor way to allow the government to ban encryption on commercial services. And even more beautifully: it doesn't come out and actually ban the use of encryption, it just makes encryption commercially infeasible for major providers to deploy, ensuring that they'll go bankrupt if they try to disobey this committee's recommendations.

It's the kind of bill you'd come up with if you knew the thing you wanted to do was unconstitutional and highly unpopular, and you basically didn't care.

Another criticism of the bill. Commentary by EPIC. Kinder analysis.

Sign a petition against this act.

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zippy72
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TSA Admits Liquid Ban Is Security Theater

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The TSA is allowing people to bring larger bottles of hand sanitizer with them on airplanes:

Passengers will now be allowed to travel with containers of liquid hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces. However, the agency cautioned that the shift could mean slightly longer waits at checkpoint because the containers may have to be screened separately when going through security.

Won't airplanes blow up as a result? Of course not.

Would they have blown up last week were the restrictions lifted back then? Of course not.

It's always been security theater.

Interesting context:

The TSA can declare this rule change because the limit was always arbitrary, just one of the countless rituals of security theater to which air passengers are subjected every day. Flights are no more dangerous today, with the hand sanitizer, than yesterday, and if the TSA allowed you to bring 12 ounces of shampoo on a flight tomorrow, flights would be no more dangerous then. The limit was bullshit. The ease with which the TSA can toss it aside makes that clear.

All over America, the coronavirus is revealing, or at least reminding us, just how much of contemporary American life is bullshit, with power structures built on punishment and fear as opposed to our best interest. Whenever the government or a corporation benevolently withdraws some punitive threat because of the coronavirus, it's a signal that there was never any good reason for that threat to exist in the first place.

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zippy72
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4 public comments
kbrint
4 days ago
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yup
DGA51
11 days ago
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Ain't it the truth.
Central Pennsyltucky
cherjr
11 days ago
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!
48.840867,2.324885
bogorad
11 days ago
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hahaha
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Karmavirus

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Remember when Lance Bass almost went to space? Anyway, please follow @lamebook on instagram! PRETTY PLEASE

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zippy72
2 days ago
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1 public comment
HarlandCorbin
4 days ago
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Maybe it's in his brain, controlling him?
zippy72
2 days ago
He has a brain? I thought it was just tape recorder, loaded with random sentences from the works of Ayn Rand.

Tokyo 2020 postponement puts S. Korean football players' Olympic status in doubt

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The postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will mean different things to different athletes. For several South Korean male football players, it may mean the loss of a career-altering opportunity. The quadrennial competition has been pushed
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zippy72
3 days ago
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Interesting how what seems a simple decision actually has life-changing consequences
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'Azure appears to be full': UK punters complain of capacity issues on Microsoft's cloud

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Bad time to request new resources, and existing ones have problems too

Customers of Microsoft's Azure cloud are reporting capacity issues such as the inability to create resources and associated reliability issues.…

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3 days ago
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