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Links for 2014-02-10

  • Git is not scalable with too many refs/*

    Mailing list thread from 2011; git starts to keel over if you tag too much

    (tags: git tags coding version-control bugs scaling refs)

  • Survey results of EU teens using the internet

    A lot of unsupervised use:

    Just under half of children said they access the internet from their own bedroom on a daily basis with 22pc saying they do so several times a day.

    (tags: surveys eu ireland politics filtering internet social-media facebook children teens cyber-bullying)

  • Girls and Software

    a pretty thought-provoking article from Linux Journal on women in computing, and how we’re doing it all wrong

    (tags: feminism community programming coding women computing software society work linux-journal children teaching)

  • Why Mt. Gox is full of shit

    leading Bitcoin exchange “Magic The Gatherine Online Exchange” turns out to suffer from crappy code, surprise:

    why does Mt. Gox experience this issue? They run a custom Bitcoin daemon, with a custom implementation of the Bitcoin protocol. Their implementation, against all advice, does rely on the transaction ID, which makes this attack possible. They have actually been warned about it months ago by gmaxwell, and have apparently decided to ignore this warning. In other words, this is not a vulnerability in the Bitcoin protocol, but an implementation error in Mt. Gox’ custom Bitcoin software.
    The rest of the article is eyeopening, including the MySQL injection vulnerabilities and failure to correctly secure a Prolexic-defended server. has some other shocking reports of Bitcoin operators being incompetent, including ‘Bitomat, the incompetent exchange that deleted their own [sole] amazon instance accidentally which contained all their keys, and thus customer funds’. wtfbbq

    (tags: mtgox security bitcoin standards omgwtfbbq via:hn bitomat)

  • Death by Metadata

    The side-effects of algorithmic false-positives get worse and worse.

    What’s more, he adds, the NSA often locates drone targets by analyzing the activity of a SIM card, rather than the actual content of the calls. Based on his experience, he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata. “People get hung up that there’s a targeted list of people,” he says. “It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.”

    (tags: false-positives glenn-greenwald drones nsa death-by-metadata us-politics terrorism sim-cards phones mobile-phones)

  • IBM’s creepy AI cyberstalking plans

    ‘let’s say that you tweet that you’ve gotten a job offer to move to San Francisco. Using IBM’s linguistic analysis technologies, your bank would analyze your Twitter feed and not only tailor services it could offer you ahead of the move–for example, helping you move your account to another branch, or offering you a loan for a new house — but also judge your psychological profile based upon the tone of your messages about the move, giving advice to your bank’s representatives about the best way to contact you.’
    Ugh. Here’s hoping they’ve patented this shit so we don’t actually have to suffer through it. Creeeepy. (via Adam Shostack)

    (tags: datamining ai ibm stupid-ideas creepy stalking twitter via:adamshostack)

  • “A reason to hang him”: how mass surveillance, secret courts, confirmation bias and the FBI can ruin your life – Boing Boing

    This is bananas. Confirmation bias running amok.

    Brandon Mayfield was a US Army veteran and an attorney in Portland, OR. After the 2004 Madrid train bombing, his fingerprint was partially matched to one belonging to one of the suspected bombers, but the match was a poor one. But by this point, the FBI was already convinced they had their man, so they rationalized away the non-matching elements of the print, and set in motion a train of events that led to Mayfield being jailed without charge; his home and office burgled by the FBI; his client-attorney privilege violated; his life upended.

    (tags: confirmation-bias bias law brandon-mayfield terrorism fingerprints false-positives fbi scary)

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