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Matt Burns
2,680 followers -
All of these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain...
All of these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain...

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Well, it's about damn time. Maybe I'll be able to close down the tab I've kept open to Snopes for the past few months.

One little known fact about 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte is that he has an excellent singing voice, and at only 6 years old was a backup singer on Milli Vanilli's 1990 hit "Girl You Know It's True".

#LochteLies  

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Such a strange situation. The Turkish military is in the midst a coup and is imposing martial law in order to oust a democratically elected president... who has been growing increasingly authoritarian and anti-democratic, limiting freedom of the press, jailing people for political reasons, and favoring the Muslim religion despite Turkey's strong stance on maintaining a strict separation of church and state instituted by President Atatürk (Turkey's George Washington) a century ago. And apparently it's the fifth time the military has stepped in to protect the people's freedoms since the 70s.

Military law is almost defined by a restriction of individual liberty, but here it seems to be protecting it. And military coups aren't historically known for being pro-democracy, but here re-establishing it seems to be the goal. Let's just hope for the sake of the Turkish people that it remains nonviolent.

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It makes sense that real-world crimes like murder and kidnapping don't result in a lot of requests.  But given that credit fraud and identity theft (fraud), cyberbullying and cyberstalking (harassment) some of the most common crimes related to the internet, why are these the least investigated?  And enforcing non-violent infractions of corporate interests is nearly double that of investigating sexual predators?  Come on, police.  Get your priorities straight.
For the first time, an ISP reveals why Police demand internet subscriber identities: ordinary file sharing is the most investigated "crime". New article on Privacy News.

While the Police complain about shortage of resources, it turns out the most investigated “crime” on the net is ordinary people sharing music and movies with each other. This is in stark constrast to the everyday area person’s perception of justice, where the distribution monopoly laws command considerably less respect than even speed limits. According to the ISP, the Police are provably spending expensive resources on pointless petty trifles.

“We want to publish these statistics in order to show the Police are violating people’s privacy and spending resources on pointless trifles”, says Jon Karlung, CEO of Bahnhof.

It’s particularly noteworthy that the Police has by far the most requests for ordinary file sharing to this ISP, despite this ISP never releasing such data for ordinary file sharing – you would assume the Police capable of learning. One would then speculate about the frequency with less-conscious ISPs, assuming it to be higher.

So the Police are prioritizing investigations against commercial distribution monopoly violations over pretty much all other crime, and are sending requests per fax. You cannot get a more descriptive picture of the legal digital divide.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/05/first-time-isp-reveals-police-demand-subscriber-data-turns-ordinary-file-sharing-investigated-crime/

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DO NOT BACK THIS PROJECT!!!

I'm all about encryption, but this project is complete crap.  The proposal shows a either a fundamental ignorance of existing encryption standards or else deliberately misrepresents them.  And the description of the product itself is extremely questionable.

At the 1:10 mark of the video, the company compares their new (and proprietary) encryption to AES, but literally every point about AES is wrong.

1)  AES isn't limited to a 256-bit block size, it's defined by it. It's like saying a bicycle is "limited" to having two wheels. There's absolutely no reason someone couldn't develop an AES variant based on the Rijndael cipher that uses larger key sizes.

2)  AES does not have a back door. Certain proprietary implementations of AES might, but AES is an open specification, and open-source implementations don't have backdoors pretty much by definition.

3) AES is not only capable of encrypting documents, as anyone who's ever changed the configuration on their wireless router knows, since AES is the preferred form of encryption for wireless networking (WPA2-AES).

4)  The part about "repetitions"? Every form of encryption will allow for repetition of keys, since the key size determines the maximum number of keys mathematically possible. But AES-256 allows for a maximum of 2^256 possible keys, which translates to roughly 10^77 (a 1 followed by 77 zeroes). That's a pretty big number. In fact, it's almost equal to the number of atoms in the visible universe.

And that's just the problems I spotted on one slide of the video.  I don't know what G+'s maximum post size is, but I'd certainly find out if I tried to point out all of the problems with this pitch.

So yeah, this is not a project you should support.

If you want to encrypt files on your computer, for full-disk encryption I recommend VeraCrypt (https://veracrypt.codeplex.com/), a (mostly) open-source fork of the now defunct but popular and respected TrueCrypt software.  For encrypting individual files, you can just use 7-zip (http://www.7-zip.org/) to archive the files using AES encryption.  For secure cloud storage, (which is primarily what this Kickstarter project aims to provide)I highly recommend SpiderOak (https://goo.gl/8j0FZ7).  To encrypt your internet traffic, you can use a VPN service like Private Internet Access (https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/) or the free Tor software (https://www.torproject.org/), though simply making sure you're using HTTPS connections to websites, which is made considerably easier by using the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension (https://www.eff.org/HTTPS-EVERYWHERE).

And, of course, the best thing you can do to secure your data is to use a good and unique password for each account you have.  A password manager like LastPass (https://lastpass.com/) makes this simple, especially if you have problems remembering multiple passwords.

But whatever you do, avoid this laughable "DataGateKeeper" like the plague.

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Which of these people should use the women's restroom?

My hometown just passed an ordinance requiring people to use the restroom that matches the sex listed on their birth certificate, similar to the law recently passed in North Carolina, and I can't express how disappointed I am with the city council.

Some people are prejudiced against transgendered people, either out of ignorance or intolerance.  There's nothing I can do to reach the latter group, and I can only encourage the former group to educate yourselves about the issue.

But let's set that aside and talk about the logistical realities of these laws.

Which of the individuals in this photo should use the mens' restroom, and which should use the women's restroom?  On the left is a transgender girl, born male.  On the right is model Aydian Dowling, a transgender male (born female) who has appeared on a cover of Men's Health magazine.   These laws would require the man in the photo below to use the women's restroom, and the girl in the photo to use the mens' restroom. 

But unless everyone is required to show their birth certificate before entering the restroom, few people would think to call the police on Mr. Dowling if he walked into the mens' restroom, or on the girl in the photo if she walked into the women's restroom. 

But a tomboyish woman with short hair and wearing a t-shirt and jeans might have the police called on her, and a long-haired teen boy might be accused of being female and barred from entering the men's room.  And neither of these people would be able to prove their birth gender because people don't carry around their birth certificates -- which they shouldn't, because it's all an identity thief would need to open a bank account or take out a loan in your name. 

In fact, this already happens.  A video posted to YouTube in April shows a young woman being accosted by police simply because she didn't look feminine enough for the women's restroom.   https://youtu.be/hVuHAS2CtUM

Supporters of the laws claim they're to protect people.  But who are they actually protecting?  Transgenderism is not new, and transgendered people have been using public restrooms corresponding with the gender they identify with for pretty much all of history.  The first phalloplasty (the surgical construction of a penis) performed on a transgender male occurred in 1915, though the emperor Elagabalus, who ruled the Roman Empire from 218 to 222, reportedly offered vast sums of money to any physician who could equip him with female genitalia.  And yet the sexual assaults that these laws purport to prevent don't happen.  These laws wouldn't do anything to protect non-transgendered people simply because there's nothing to protect them from.

What these laws will do, however, is to put transgendered people at risk.  If the girl in the photo below were your daughter, would you feel comfortable sending her into the mens' restroom?  If you're a woman, would you feel comfortable with the man in the photo walking into the womens' restroom?  If you, as a man, saw him walk into the womens' restroom, what would you do?  At least some men would be willing to use force to protect the women from the "perverted guy" walking into the women's restroom.

That's what these laws will do.  They won't do a thing to prevent assaults on non-transgendered people by transgendered people, because that's a threat that hasn't been proven to exist.  But it would legitimize prejudice against transgendered people and put them at risk.

And if "bathroom monitors" aren't posted at public restrooms to verify people's birth certificates before allowing them into the "correct" restroom, all the laws will accomplish is to reinforce gender stereotypes and prevent women who don't wear "appropriate" amounts of makeup, wear sufficiently feminine clothing, or show some cleavage from using the restroom.
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Can you take a few seconds to help a couple of students?

A couple of my students are trying to do a project that involves administering an online survey, but neither of them is very active on social media. Please take a few seconds to fill out these short surveys. They will greatly appreciate it!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1rVi-17FrJ7jmw5sumgvCJP7c-SLlyZ5hh6lp8Agf6jQ/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1uRQeMd3VdXVIEQH2hEby3bXRL4MDcxTSTiLiS8GkQMw/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link

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This does a great job highlighting how uninformed Drumpf supporters are. Here are my favorites...

#2 has it backwards, considering Drumpf has actually talked about beefing up slander and libel laws to the point that no one can legally criticize him.

I'm not sure how #7 thinks Clinton would bring that about, since she's nearly as hawkish as the Republican candidates.

I'm not sure #8 is a terribly reliable source concerning Sanders' economic proposals, considering she doesn't even know his name.

I'm confused by #10... Does she think that if Clinton is elected, the number of people who think like her will increase? Or maybe she just thinks that people will start copying Clinton's hairstyle.

#12 might actually be the only person here with a point. If I were gay, is think twice about getting married of Drumpf were elected, too.

#14. What the actual f-ck??? Slavery? Really?

#18 is rehashing the ridiculous 95% tax rate nonsense. All it takes is 15 seconds on Google to disprove it.

#19 thinks immigration will get worse. Not illegal immigration, just immigration in general. Like the immigration that brought his grandparents to this country.

And I wonder if #25 realizes that Italy isn't a fascist state anymore, has open borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and Vatican City, is a founding member of the EU, and has a universal healthcare system (ranked #2 in the world by the WHO)...

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