The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Technology]
2015-08-22 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 233 references
 

Why does this not surprise me?

Music streaming market leader Spotify has decided that it wants to know a lot more about you. It wants to be able to access the sensor information on your phone so it can determine whether you’re walking, running or standing still. It wants to know your GPS coordinates, grab photos from your phone and look through your contacts too. And it may share that information with its partners, so a whole load of companies could know exactly where you are and what you’re up to.

Isn't that nice?

I'm not sure why people put up with this, but they do, which is why it keeps happening.  I personally think this is an outrage -- but that's me.

But..... if it wasn't just me there would be no Facebook or similar, would there?

Wake up America -- you're being spied on and everything you do is being sliced, diced, stored and sold.  Once collected that data never goes away, and it has value.  With enough of it, which is actually surprisingly small in amount, I can predict your religion, how much money you make, what sort of vehicle you drive and exactly where you live, work and play.

For what "great reward" do you give all of this up, now and forever more?

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Well I'll be damned, an actual application of the rule of law.

We’ve all been ripped off when paying for wifi. But now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is cracking down on companies that block you from using anything but their exorbitantly priced services. The agency just slapped a company with a $750,000 fine for blocking wifi hotspots at convention centers.

It is illegal to interfere with a lawful user of RF spectrum by active means.  You can build your facility to be a faraday cage, but that's non-discriminatory -- it blocks all RF and does so by passive design.

Actively emitting energy to intentionally interfere with a lawful RF spectrum user is against the law in the United States.

It's about damn time that the FCC enforced said law.

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Well, today you are anyway...

THE NEXT TIME you press your wireless key fob to unlock your car, if you find that it doesn’t beep until the second try, the issue may not be a technical glitch. Instead, a hacker like Samy Kamkar may be using a clever radio hack to intercept and record your wireless key’s command. And when that hacker walks up to your vehicle a few minutes, hours, or days later, it won’t even take those two button presses to get inside.

$35 worth of hardware, more or less.

Here's how it works: Modern cars and garage door openers use what is called a "rolling code" system.  That is, the code transmitted works exactly once, and the two devices have a "master" sequence generator.  Thus, when you "pair" the remote to the car (or garage door) the devices are able to know the next sequence number.  When you send the code the device marks where it was last and then searches forward, but never backward.

This means if you press the remote when not in range it's ok, as the car (or garage door) will keep searching forward until it finds the key.  But if you capture a press of the fob and replay it that's worthless, since the opener or car will not allow a code to be re-used; it is valid only once.

What this device does is intercept the first press and jam the receiver on the car or door opener.  It now has the first press, but the (legitimate) receiver never saw it.  The door doesn't open and of course you press the button again.  The device jams the second code too, but repeats the first one -- which works because the car or opener never saw it the first time.

Unfortunately the device now has stored the next code in the sequence and it can play it back any time the owner of the device wants to.

When he does, voila -- your car or garage door opens.

BlackBerry has been working on problems similar to this in the medical field and, I suspect, in this field as well.

The real question is why do regulators permit this sort of crappy design to be sold in the first place and where is the enforcement when it comes to things that really are safety and security-related -- such as in the medical field, in products sold as "secure" for use around and in your home and in your car.

It's one thing to know that something is insecure (a plain door) and then you choose what level of security you wish to add to that system on your own -- making your selection from a wide variety of different products from various vendors.

It's quite another to be sold something claimed to be secure that in fact is not.

The business opportunity here for firms like BlackBerry is obvious -- particularly with them having a big wedge in the vehicle electronics business already via their QNX operating system.

This bears watching....

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2015-08-09 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 584 references
 

I have had a "repository" on Github for quite some time.  The other day, while on my phone and enjoying myself in the wilderness, I read this and got*****ed off enough to sign in and delete it -- including, I note, every single bit of code that I had shared with the public that was on it.

Knowing the above is relevant to understand just how obnoxious Github’s new code of conduct policy really is. It seems like it was intentionally designed to alienate the core demographic. So much so that I would say that if they implement it as written, normal white males will essentially be 2cnd class citizens within this online community. There are two sections I want to highlight, but I encourage you to read the whole thing at the previous link.

Yes, that's an out-of-context tease.  Intentionally-so.

Now you might go over to the link, read it, and conclude immediately that the author is a white male race-and-gender-bigot and therefore you should discard the entire piece.

If you do that, you're a jackass and I will repeat one of my favorite movie lines: GET OFF MY (******N) LAWN.

Here's why, in a nutshell: On the Internet nobody knows you're a dog.

Or a woman.

Or black.

Or Mexican.

Or gay.

Or igottacutmydickoffcauseithinkishoulddahadapussy.

Or.... whatever.

There is one exception to this: If you tell them you are one (or more) of the above.

But then Github goes even further:

Although this list cannot be exhaustive, we explicitly honor diversity in age, gender, gender identity or expression, culture, ethnicity, language, national origin, political beliefs, profession, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and technical ability. We will not tolerate discrimination based on any of the protected characteristics above, including participants with disabilities.

What?

Technical ability.

The author cites an "unwritten" rule on the Internet that he claims is nobody knows you're a girl.  It's really nobody knows you're a dog.

Here's my point -- in an environment where the only way for someone to know your race, color, gender, gender "preference", sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic you may have is for you to intentionally disclose it there is only one reason for you to do so: You are seeking an improper advantage.

What GitHub has done is convey the ability to obtain that advantage instead of slapping it down hard.

Sorry, but no.  I won't contribute to that, I won't support it, I won't even give it notice.  And that means that the publicly-available code that I used to have up on Github is now gone.

It's not going to be posted somewhere else, it's not being migrated, it's gone.

Screw you Github.

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