Entries Tagged as ''

1984 Here We Come

Randu2

I’ve always wondered whether or not federal law enforcement management ever think about what they say before saying it.   Currently, they want to put a backdoor in every piece of software so that if given a warrant, the government can go in and snoop on sensitive cyber-information.  And their reasoning is based on the fact that CALEA has worked with telecommunications so why can’t it be done elsewhere, predominantly software.

As a telecommunications professional of over a decade of experience and having been in the security industry for a major part of my life, I have to say that they fail to actually understand how CALEA is implemented.  While it is a government mandated security act that telecommunications and internet providers have had to deal with, it’s also got something that most software doesn’t.  A physical footprint.   To actually use a CALEA backdoor, you physically have to go to a 24/7 manned switch, that has hardware to jack into to basically “eavesdrop”.   It’s more complicated than that, but that’s pretty much how it works.

However, with software, if there is a backdoor and it’s known by hackers, then hackers will try everything in their power to break in through that area.  You know how in linux, they say never to use the root user?  That’s the same principle.   Don’t give it out, don’t acknowledge, because once people know that it exists, it becomes a security risk.

And if you’re in security, you should understand the risk assessment value and how ease of use is predominantly inversely proportional to security.  Always has been, and for the most part, always will be.  On top of all of this, there is another method that people will use to get around all of this.   Bouncers and darknets.   If this law is passed, they actually make their lives a lot more difficult as enforcement since most people don’t just think about using darknets or even understand how bouncers work.  If a wiretap is in place in all areas though, then it forces the underground to come up with new ways of communications without fear of someone looking over their shoulder.  And is that what law enforcement wants?  That doesn’t sound “easier” by any means of the imagination.

At least not to me.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Ping? No Thanks

Ping Screen shot 2010-09-01 at 9.32.17 PM
Image by swanksalot via Flickr

Amusing. TechCrunch released an article about how Ping isn’t as social as Apple made it out to be. What’s even more funny is that I don’t see this going anywhere just like Genius didn’t go anywhere.

First, let me throw it out there. When I find new music, I don’t know the name of the song, or what it is. I just hear something while browsing a website, Youtube, or even listening to the radio. You know what Apple needs to do? Buy Shazam. Take that technology and load it in instead of relying on my friends. Truthfully, what my friends like in music could have absolutely no relevance in what I like. I like opera, but I can guarantee you that my wife doesn’t really care for it. But would we be in the same circle of friends? Sure. That’s a failure in itself for recommendations.

Second, I decided to give Ping a shot, even though during the Apple announcement, I was already arguing with people about how Apple could make things nice, but they don’t exactly understand the Internet trends. Let me put it into perspective. Myspace is probably one of the ugliest social networks ever. I said it back when it started, and it still is to date. But yet, the young kids that made it popular is what attracted bands and other musicians to it. That’s also why MySpace still lives… due to those relationships. If Apple wants to attack that head-on, they need to allow every single band lay claim to their pages and have followers able to already follow the band without the claim.

For example, I was testing out Ping, thinking, hey… this might not be half bad. Let me add one of my all-time favorite bands: My Chemical Romance. Now I’ve purchased their albums from iTunes before, so I know they exist on there (unlike some of the jrock/jpop/crock/cpop artists), but lo-and-behold, I can’t follow them. No MCR follow means that Ping fails in my book. I mean, the recommendations based on my genres that I selected gave me Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Coldplay. All artists that are tied to Apple. What about Daft Punk? What about Gorillaz? If you’re building social, you have to think social.

Personally, I think that Ping is a great idea, but the execution was absolutely sloppy on Apple’s part. If you’re going to build a social network for musicians, figure out what the strengths of social networks are and build around that. Don’t tie it directly to your iTunes store. The difference between customers and users might be a credit card number, but the difference between a social network and a store is a world apart.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Do Illegal Immigrants REALLY Contribute to Social Security?

Modern Social Security card.
Image via Wikipedia

So I read this story in the Washington Post about how illegal immigrants help Social Security and without them, that program would be in more turmoil than it is now.  But in all honesty, is that even a true statement?

I mean, with all the statistics that op-ed throws out there, it misses a crucial fact:

Employers pay part of Social Security.

Here’s the point.   I was watching a story on CBS a while back about illegal immigration and they interviewed the farms that basically hire almost all Hispanics for seasonal jobs.  One of the most interesting takeaways from that was that the employer would deduct SS and all necessary fees out of their pay, and what those workers did with it outside that was their issue.   If that’s the case, then at least 33% of the statistics is paid for by the employer and has to be taken out.  The rest is conjecture since there’s no way of knowing how many fake SSNs are out there and while estimation is a great thing, let’s look at the rule of thumb in the business world.

If I pay you in cash, usually people do not pay their social security on that.   Nor do they pay their any other income tax on it.  In fact, forget illegals.  How many Americans do you know that actually pay taxes when they’re paid in cash?   I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone.  Not even people high up in society.  Everyone knows the “unspoken” rule.

So the only actual part that you can really deem as indirectly contributed to the Social Security program is what the employers pay because they have to pay it.  It’s part of hiring a labor force.  But that could be attributed to any single individual, and does not have to be an illegal immigrant.

If that’s the case, do illegals really contribute to Social Security?  Or is it just in the mind of this op-ed columnist that hasn’t really thought out the actual employer/employee process?  Maybe I’m just crazy, but if I were an illegal immigrant, I wouldn’t pay a big red target on myself and collect Social Security or pay the taxes.  I’m already a ghost in the system.  Why put myself on the radar and put my family and me in danger?   Just saying.

Enhanced by Zemanta