In an open letter to President Obama and Congress, eight of the most prominent U.S. tech companies have demanded that strict new limits be put on government surveillance, citing revelations made earlier this summer, when stories based Edward Snowden's leaked documents began running in The Guardian. "The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual," they argue, "rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change."
Let's cut the crap -- it is my position that all of these firms have intentionally cooperated in one form or another with the government. They could have all resisted. They could have all told the US Government in all of its forms to go to Hell when presented with a warrantless "request" or even an NSL.
You think they couldn't eh?
You really believe that the US Government would jail Google executives and shut down the company if they flat-out refused to comply with a NSL and disclosed it instead, taking the public position that every single such request would be instantly posted on Google's search "start" page?
You honestly believe that the US Federal Government would destroy $360 billion in market cap (Google) with the single stroke of a pen and tens if not hundreds of thousands of firms dependent on them, setting off an instantaneous market crash the likes of which even 1929 or 1987 would not even come close to duplicating?
Do you think that they'd do the same thing with Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft or Apple?
Oh hell no they wouldn't. The threat is empty when it comes to these firms and they all know it.
Sure, the government can try to bully Lavabit. They're an insignificant fly on the wall and swatting them does exactly nothing to the US economy, tax system and commerce.
Shutting down Google, on the other hand, would decimate the economy, destroy hundreds of thousands of businesses instantly, render hundreds of thousands of people unemployed and cause more than half of the US mobile "Smartphone" handsets to be instantly and irrevocably incapable of synchronizing contacts, calendars and email!
The government lacks the balls to take such an action and they, Google and I all know it.
What Google (and the rest of them) should have told the US Government years ago is this:
The fact of the matter is that every one of these large tech firms is utterly impenetrable when it comes these matters; the government is a fly on their ass. The government can threaten all they want but these firms hold an economic nuclear bomb and the government knows it. Actually acting against these companies in this fashion means the destruction of the US Tax Base and economic damage far worse than anything that happened even when Lehman Brothers went down.
Despite all the bluster and bull**** when it comes to surveillance I argue that all of these firms are in fact active participants and willful partners.
Let's just take one example -- Microsoft. How many copies of activated Windows are on Federal computers? What happens to the government if you destroy the company and the activation servers go offline? Thought so.
Could the government try to plan around this? Sure. Could they do it on short notice if Microsoft decided to grow a pair of balls tomorrow? Nope.
Do not be deceived by their so-called "position"; the only justified position for these firms to take, in concert as a group, is to tell the US Government to literally piss off.
As for any business that gives a damn about privacy and security until "big tech" does exactly that you must assume that all of your data is and will be made available to anyone the government wants to see it if you allow any of it to touch their infrastructure.
Your only defense is to run your own infrastructure and make damn sure it is all encrypted -- from soup to nuts -- because then the government must come to you with their demand for whatever they want.
Paul Ryan and John Boehner, go **** yourself.
I'm done, as I've previously pointed out, when it comes to being an entrepreneur and thereby voluntarily assisting our government in screwing people for fun along with legislators' personal power and profit.
I'm done because the clowncar brigade embodied in this nation's marxist crapshow comprised of both the executive and legislature claims to offer "choice" but in fact one is simply asking if I'd like to be raped in the ass by an elephant or donkey. Not only does it steal from everyone in this country and refuse prosecution there it refuses to prosecute and incarcerate those in that clowncar brigade who literally lead to people being murdered -- in Benghazi, by Fast-n-Furious and more.
The Democrats and Republicans offer choice? Like hell -- assault is assault, and in any free nation assault results in prosecution and imprisonment, not praise or even simple re-election.
Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis, the lead negotiators on the agreement, detailed the specifics of the proposal at an evening press conference.
The proposal would restore about $63 billion in funding that had been cut by the so-called sequester. Officials said the increases would be offset by a variety of spending reductions and increased fees elsewhere in the budget totaling about $85 billion over a decade, leaving enough for a largely symbolic deficit cut of $23 billion over the next decade.
You're hundreds of billions of dollars in the hole annually and claiming that tens of billions are "significant" -- over ten years.
Divide by ten and it's single digit billions, or less than 1% of the deficit.
You're all a bunch of liars, thieves, brigands and worse. In any just society deficit spending specifically and unbacked credit creation generally would lead to immediate incarceration because it is literal grand theft from the population at-large. It causes income inequality and is aimed directly at the lower-earning people in the nation, financially raping them repeatedly under false pretense of "helping" them.
Yeah, it's a help all right -- just like the showers at Auschwitz were a "help."
Quit*****ing on me while telling me it's raining. Your nostrums don't work any more for anyone but you.
So-called analyst Ehud Gelblum, who jumped ship from Morgan Stanley to Citibank, was out yesterday late afternoon with "research" on BlackBerry, "initiating coverage" with a Sell rating and a $4 price target.
I don't know why that merits being called "news", given that everyone and their brother believes the firm is going to zero. And the timing is rather suspicious, given that the company's stock traded double normal daily volume and had a monster rally and outside reversal yesterday after diving at the open, leaving me to wonder if someone has inside information on something that has not been announced.
Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum upgraded shares of the Canadian technology firm to "overweight" from "underweight," and raised his price target to a Wall Street high of $22, as he believes the gross margins from BlackBerry 10 will add to earnings this year.
That's from March.
Now I'll give you that people are free to change their mind. But -- and this is the key -- note what he said at the time about what he believed were the prospects for the firm's BB10 devices:
Though the price target is being raised and the stock is being upgraded, Gelblum noted he does not believe BB10 is likely to emerge as a third viable operating system in the United States, where Google's Android and Apple's iOS dominate.
In other words he believed the firm would fail to find wide adoption with its devices but put a $22 price target on the stock anyway? The stock was trading around $16 at the time.
So here's the question -- where's the accountability when you issue a price target that is wildly at odds with what you claim for the underlying premise of the firm? Now you essentially claim that the company's going to be forced out of business, as you don't believe it's a going concern, and you put a price target on the company that's 30% lower than today's trading price where the last time you put one that was 50% higher out there.
The essence of the price target call is a belief that the company has, at its core, zero value as an operating concern.
Well, maybe and maybe not, but how is it that the previous price target not to mention being the most-bullish of all on the street at the time gets no ink as a cautionary note when it comes to listening to this guy's call?
More to the point, what's Citibank doing allowing him to "cover" this stock at all given that history?
He does acknowledge that BES10 may prove out to be a winner -- indeed, every indication is that despite all the screaming about the company being dead it continues to find both test and online installation growth, and with good cause -- it's the only multi-vendor device management solution that is deliverable today and yet doesn't lock you up, leaving open the choice to run IOS, Android or BlackBerry handsets at your option. I note with some curiosity that T-Mobile just announced a cloud hosted BES10 option for those who don't want to run their own servers.
I've been quite-surprised at the management failures that BlackBerry has accumulated over the last year, but the firm's stock price has certainly been punished commensurate with those failures. BB10, as an operating environment on a mobile device, has a number of unique features in its stable that nothing else has, among them being the ability to run not just native apps but also nearly all Android apps as well.
The company has intentionally crippled a number of these features over the last year, and whatever business case they had internally for doing so has been proved to be stupid. Whether that has resulted in the infliction of mortal but self-inflicted damage is yet to be determined, but it has resulted in the departure of their CEO (good) and a number of other high-level people (better.)
I find it interesting that Gelblum says exactly nothing about the progress of the BB10 platform that has come about primarily through the release of these artificial constraints -- most particularly the ability to seamlessly load and run Android apps in 10.2.1. Yes, I know, it's not yet officially released, but it is publicly known that work hasn't been abandoned on getting that out to customers -- indeed, if anything it has been stepped up.
The real question is whether the firm shows stabilization on the financial front in the next quarterly release and what the roadmap is to complete both that and delivery of a fully functional platform that is both BB10 and Android-app compatible -- and when that will occur in general release.
As I've previously noted full S/MIME support for non-BES clients along with a concerted drive to make BB10 a "computer in a pocket", replacing a tablet and perhaps a laptop, porting something like Open Office to it and widening the HDMI external display compatibility so that full external screen resolution can be exploited, would be a monstrous bombshell. The devices already have seamless connectivity back to the file store on your desktop or network and this would be the first credible single-device mobile-office solution that actually fits in a pocket.
Chen, the so-called "interim" CEO, certainly has the chops and the history to recognize both the challenges and blaze the path. There are always those will say "it's too late" but in point of fact there are multiple instances in the marketplace -- including Apple, I might point out -- where that exact claim was made and turned out to be wrong.
At today's stock price the company is trading as if it's already out of business, but the window remains open. Chen doesn't have the luxury of time, but he doesn't need it -- all the ingredients are there if he has the corporate and visionary chops to take the right steps.
My question at this point is simple: Have so-called "analysts" turned into nothing more than a legal way to manipulate stock prices and, if so, what does that say about the value of so-called "research" shops?
This is not a good thing for Intel, and while it is not -- yet -- trashing them in the marketplace, it might down the road.
In yet another washup from the Snowden revelations, the developers of FreeBSD have decided to take several steps backwards in their crypto work, to stop using hardware random number generators (RNGs).
The two hardware RNGs singled out by the FreeBSD developers in this post are Intel's RDRAND (in Ivy Bridge processors), and VIA's Padlock.
If you recall one of the revelations on the NSA and its spying crapware is that it sought to infiltrate the generation of random seeds in cryptography. This move is a severe problem for Intel should it spread, and unless something is done to prove that no tampering has taken place and more to the point, that tampered chips are not in wide use, it is likely to spread.
Random number generation is utterly critical to good cryptography. Without it you can have the best algorithm in the world but it will be trivial to break it. Since it is very, very difficult (effectively impossible) to break modern cryptography by brute computing force the usual approach nowdays is to cheat.
Anything you can do that reduces the solution set helps.
Random numbers are used to initialize the cryptographic algorithm. It's necessary that they actually be random, because if you can predict the next "random" number then you can also break the code without actually having to break the cryptography itself.
The problem with such tampering is that it is not targeted at all. That is, if you've managed to tamper with the random number generator in a given chipset then everyone who uses that chipset has their cryptography rendered useless.
If the NSA in fact did this they are likely to be ultimately responsible for the destruction of the firms that incorporated the tampered RNGs, as the chips involved are embedded in communications and computing devices worldwide. The harm will reach into the trillions of dollars, and all of it due to government spookworks hubris.
Intel, and the other players in these spaces, need to take a cold, hard look at this and figure out how to prove that their chips are indeed ok -- if they are.
Until they do the unfortunate reality is that one must assume that the tampering has, in fact, taken place.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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