Posts Tagged ‘responsibility’

UK Plans Private Police Force

March 3rd, 2012 03:47 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “‘Private companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighborhoods and even detaining suspects under a radical privatization plan,’ The Guardian reports. ‘The contract is the largest on police privatization so far, with a potential value of £1.5bn over seven years, rising to a possible £3.5bn depending on how many other forces get involved.’ A worrying development in a country with an ever-increasing culture of surveillance and intrusive policing.”

Source: UK Plans Private Police Force

The App Store Is A Republic

February 21st, 2012 02:31 admin View Comments

obama_sotu_2011.jpgIt comes down to this fundamental question: How much responsibility do you want for the workings of your device? The religious divide between iOS and Android hinges on this point. There are nerds – and I always use the term affectionately – whose nerdliness depends upon that responsibility. Without it, they feel no control over their computer. There is no doubt that Android places more of that responsibility on the user than iOS does.

Without setting up straw men or comparing apples to oranges, I’ll offer an observation: some nerds believe that Apple does not allow its users to achieve their full nerdly potential because it limits their responsibility. We should reframe this argument. Apple nerds do not believe that nerdliness hinges upon responsibility. We would prefer to concentrate our nerd powers on the things we do with our computers.

Appleed_s.jpgBut we do not surrender control over our devices to the corporation as the Android straw man might allege. Far from it. We elect representatives to fight for control, and sometimes – though not always – Apple listens to them.

The App Store is a republic. The citizens vote with their Apple IDs, downloading the apps that best represent them. The makers of those apps are elected officials. But it’s not a congress of equals. It’s a meritocracy. The influence of representatives is proportionate to the importance of their apps. Apple, of course, is the president. It has veto power. But it can’t make good laws with a hostile congress.

We All Depend On Something

Many Android-style nerds have already thrown up their hands in disgust. This notion of representative platform governance is an assault on their beliefs. It’s against the Orthodox Hacker Way. I honor and respect that belief. Thank the Makers there are multiple platform choices.

But that’s just it. We all ultimately depend on the Makers. We all sacrifice some control over our platforms. What are you going to do, make your own phone? Maybe someday. But today, we all give up responsibility for some things in exchange for control of other things.

Apples & Androids

Android users maintain the ability to root their devices, but they might be out of luck for future software updates. Apple users must fight against Apple for the ability to jailbreak. But I submit that Apple nerds don’t need to jailbreak to be nerdy. Apple users accept the laws of Apple’s land, and that is just a different-strokes-for-different-folks proposition.

Within those borders, Apple users are free to be nerds about their tasks, their solutions, their workflows and their aesthetics. They elect the best developers in their world to defend the platform and write the code. They exercise a different kind of nerdiness, a soft nerdiness of finding the best tool for the job, down to every minute detail. If there is no best tool, anyone with the skill, the time and the sensibilities can build it themselves. They can run for office in the App Store.

The Union & The Confederacy

Android has apps. It has app marketplaces, but it’s a loose confederacy. Device and OS fragmentation, a relative free-for-all of app availability and a weak judicial system – or app review process – mean that users must cobble together solutions and developers must cobble together businesses. In exchange, Android users, developers and OEMs alike retain more personal responsibility for the experience.

In Apple country, the experience is consistent and set by the president. The App Store is the House of Representatives, and votes are one-to-one. An app means the same thing to all users, so each app is a vote. If Apple users did not vote, if they blindly accepted the solutions put forth by Apple, then they would surrender their nerd cred. But they do. They vote for third-party developers. They vote by the hundreds of millions.


Responsibility To Govern

As elected representatives, Apple developers are in a position to speak truth to power. When Apple’s unilateral decisions threaten the Republic, developers speak out. Apple doesn’t always bow to the will of its congress. But it does listen.

When Apple launched iOS 5, it changed the way the system handled two directories: /Caches and /tmp. Before iOS 5, those were safe places for apps to store data. With the introduction of iCloud as Apple’s preferred place for files, Apple began to “clean” those directories when devices were low on space. That threatened Instapaper, which stores articles for offline reading in /Caches.

Lesser nerds would have rolled over. President Apple had issued a decree. But Speaker Marco did not give in. He took to his influential blog and outlined the problem. The functionality of a successful and beloved app was in jeopardy.

A month later, when developers received the iOS 5.0.1 beta, the problem had been solved.

Threats To The Republic

It would be naïve to believe that a republic can function without corruption. The bylaws of Apple’s congress are more strict than the tenuous agreements of the Android confederacy, but its app review process is still rife with abuse. The plague of low-quality scam apps could break users’ trust in their government, and the republic could be lost.

But Phill Ryu, a newly elected representative behind the new hit iPhone app Clear, made an eloquent speech on the floor foretelling a troubling future if Apple does not address this problem.

Apple users and developers share a nerdy devotion to user experience, the highest ideal of Apple itself. With developers like Ryu keeping Apple’s shortcomings in the spotlight, it’s hard to believe that Apple would not act to solve this problem.

As Apple moves toward a more unified ecosystem across iOS and OS X, its executive orders will be bold. Its sandboxing and its challenges to the notion of the file system worry some citizens and developers. But this is how sausage gets made. There have been dark times in Apple’s republic, and they may come again. But as long as their nerdly representatives have a say, Apple nerds will be safe to practice their religion.

Top Image: Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

iPad “cleaning” screenshot via via someone on Twitter Marco couldn’t remember

Source: The App Store Is A Republic

Anonymous Claims Responsibility For Facebook Outage

January 25th, 2012 01:44 admin View Comments

anonymous150.jpgNoticed some Facebook downtime? We have. It’s intermittent, but Facebook has some trouble with uptime right now, and Anonymous claims responsibility (somewhat obliquely).

The organization has declared war against Facebook in the past, but Facebook is no ordinary target. It’s the cream of the crop. It’s practically never down. Has Anonymous finally cracked it?

Well, not finally. Facebook is still working right now, but not reliably. It has completely failed to load in a few of our tests. Thomas Knoll posted a screenshot of the outage on Google+ at 5:17 p.m..


Just two days ago, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) drafted a new readiness plan for dealing with attacks from the likes of Anonymous. Maybe President Obama’s “cyber threats” from last night’s State of the Union address are real, after all.

This is still developing. We’ll keep you posted once we learn more about the alleged attack and its methods.

UPDATE 5:45 p.m.: Anonymous claims to have called off the attack (again indirectly).

See also: How Could Anonymous “Destroy” Facebook?

Source: Anonymous Claims Responsibility For Facebook Outage

Anonymous Claims Responsibility For WikiLeaks Attack

September 1st, 2011 09:32 admin View Comments


mask.of.sanity writes “Anonymous members have taken responsibility for launching a denial of service attack against WikiLeaks this week using a custom-built tool that exploits an SQL server flaw. Field tests of the tool dubbed RefRef were launched against several websites including WikiLeaks, Pastebin and 4Chan. In a Twitter account linked to the Anonymous blog, the users were described as hacktivists with ‘a personal vendetta against WikiLeaks,’ adding that ‘we are sorry we took you down. We are even.’”

Source: Anonymous Claims Responsibility For WikiLeaks Attack

Cisco, US DOJ Fire Another Salvo At Peter Adekeye

August 8th, 2011 08:42 admin View Comments


theodp writes “Citing the widespread practice of sharing passwords for expediency’s sake, Cisco’s Chief Security Officer proclaimed in 2007 that people ‘need to be held accountable for their risk-taking,’ noting that CEO John Chambers drives home the point that ‘information security is everybody’s responsibility’ at Cisco. But instead of accepting responsibility after a Cisco employee provided his ID and password to ex-Cisco engineer Peter Alfred-Adekeye, the networking giant sic’ed the Feds on Adekeye, who was slapped with a five-count indictment by a Federal grand jury last week. Adekeye’s crime, according to the Court filing, was using the login credentials the Cisco employee provided him with ‘in excess of the specific use granted by the Cisco employee.’ For his five downloads of different versions of Cisco IOS — four of which were launched within a 15-minute period in 2006 — the government is seeking a penalty of 5 years imprisonment for Adekeye, a $250K fine, and 3 years supervised release. It’s the latest salvo fired in the war Cisco and US prosecutors have waged against Adekeye since he filed an antitrust suit against Cisco in December 2008.”

Source: Cisco, US DOJ Fire Another Salvo At Peter Adekeye

Google’s Schmidt Says He ‘Screwed Up’ On Social Networking

June 1st, 2011 06:36 admin View Comments


“Google chairman Eric Schmidt took responsibility for the search titan’s failure to counter Facebook’s explosive growth, saying he saw the threat coming but failed to counter it.” The same story (coverage of a May 31 conference presentation by Schmidt) also quotes him as saying, unsurprisingly, that cloud services will be ‘the death of IT as we know it.’”

Source: Google’s Schmidt Says He ‘Screwed Up’ On Social Networking

Lone Iranian Claims Credit For Comodo Hack

March 28th, 2011 03:40 admin View Comments


nk497 writes “A boastful Iranian hacker has claimed sole responsibility for the Comodo security certificate attack, saying it had nothing to do with his government. The 21-year-old claimed via a note on PasteBin, ‘I’m not a group of hacker, I’m single hacker with experience of 1,000 hackers.’ While some researchers believed his claims, saying the media had accepted Comodo’s claims that the attack was from the Iranian government too easily, others said it was impossible to tell if the hacker was real, or a PR move by Iran.”

Source: Lone Iranian Claims Credit For Comodo Hack

Anonymous Now Attacking Corporate Fax Machines

December 13th, 2010 12:21 admin View Comments

An anonymous reader writes “Anonymous has claimed responsibility for distributed denial of service attacks against several anti-WikiLeaks websites this month. In a novel twist to the campaign, Mission Leakflood has started a new DDoS attack against fax numbers belonging to Amazon, MasterCard, Moneybookers, PayPal, Visa and Tableau Software. Some numbers have already stopped responding, and Twitter and PostFinance have since been added to the target list.”

Source: Anonymous Now Attacking Corporate Fax Machines

Aussie Gov’t Decides ISPs Aren’t Responsible For Infected Computers

November 29th, 2010 11:22 admin View Comments

c0lo writes “In a sudden outburst of common sense, the Australian senate decided that it is not the government’s responsibility to force ISPs to disconnect infected computers from the Internet. Peter Coroneos, chief of the Internet Industry Association, used a car analogy that actually makes sense: ‘It would be like forcing car manufacturers to take responsibility for bad drivers.’”

Source: Aussie Gov’t Decides ISPs Aren’t Responsible For Infected Computers