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All this because 130 people were killed. What would they do to prevent the 4600 people killed in road accidents in France last year? Or the 49000 people killed by alcohol [in 2009]?



From a political standpoint, terrorist attacks are first and foremost attacks against THE STATE not the citizenry and that's why you see the Establishment is up in arms every time such a tragedy occurs because they know that the terrorists are challenging their authority and jeopardizing their power in the land.

The Establishment really don't care about road fatalities or substance abuse related deaths of the populace. They only care about their wealth and power.


I think that's a pretty sharp observation. The powerlessness of the state to prevent these attacks translates into a perceived weakness, effectively showing that those that are nominally in control of keeping 'us' safe have oversold their ability to do that.


Well, many individual people, not just "states", fear terrorists more than car accidents and while it's statistically irrational given the number of fatalities due to each cause at a normal year, there is something rational about it.

Someone killing a hundred people who would gladly kill a hundred million if they could, and who's presumably constantly looking for a way to do it, is more frightening than a car accident, because there can't be a huge sudden increase in the rate of car accidents, but there can be and there more than once was a huge sudden increase in the amount of people killed by enemy combatants.

(Whether you think terror could ever escalate into a full-blown war is another question, and many don't think that, or they think that it is the common countermeasures against terror that result in full-blown wars rather than terror itself, etc. My only point is if it's legitimate to fear paperclip maximizers because they're "strong AI" and always achieve their goals, it should be legitimate to fear dead-people-like-you maximizers because they're a form of wetware intelligence with a good track record of achieving its goals, and they specifically want to kill you, rather than it being a likely subgoal of "make more paperclips". From a citizen's point of view, the state is equally powerless against terror and car accidents, and still the dead-people-like-you maximizer is way more frightening for many and it's not stupid to think that.)


They only way that that could conceivably happen is if terrorists gain hold of either nuclear weapons or biological weapons.

The scariest link there - I've said this before, but there is no harm in repeating it - is that Pakistan probably has both, we're sure about their nukes and we strongly suspect they have a BW unit.

IS gaining a foothold in Pakistan gives them potential access to weapons of a totally different grade than the ones that they have today.

If that should happen and these weapons would be brought to a readiness level associated with an imminent attack or if - which I hope we'll be able to avoid but which you can't rule out entirely - an attack with such weapons would be carried out the degree and scope of response will be such that the map of the regions involved will be totally redrawn.

As soon as terrorists cross the line where all-out war against them is justified and the cost to society is one we are willing to bear (and we're far from that, right now the most people can be seen to support is to drop some bombs from a high altitude) it will be 'game over' in a relatively short time with respect to the first level of confrontation and after that we will have a repeat of the aftermath of the Iraq war but on a much larger chunk of the globe.

The world is a tinderbox and way too many idiots have matches.


Don't you think Pakistan has shown these facilities to the US Government? I believe the US is ready to destroy them, or surgically invade, if IS were poised to gain access to them.


>but there can be and there more than once was a huge sudden increase in the amount of people killed by enemy combatants.

Replace 'enemy combatants' with 'comets'.

Do you still find your argument persuasive?


Well, it certainly makes the argument less persuasive because it doesn't fit with all the other parts. I think my original version is better.

In seriousness - actually comets are a lot like car accidents (if you believe that comets aren't actively trying to kill you), the only difference is the probability distribution (and you used the comet example because of the higher variance.)

Unlike those things, the success of an intelligent being trying to kill you cannot and should not be thought of as a probability distribution. It's not like a coin being tossed, in that a coin doesn't tend to get better at falling on one side or the other (nor do car accidents or comets get better at killing you, so they are more like coin tosses.)

It matters whether there's intelligence behind the cause or not; I'm surprised at how hard this point is to make at a forum occupied mostly by programmers.


> Whether you think terror could ever escalate into a full-blown war […]

Funny words: full-blown war scares me much more than mere "terror".


That's the kind of insight you'd get when you hang around these people, you get the chance to know them very well and what they really think and not what they want you to think of them.

I acknowledge that there are different strains of them but deep down they're the same who only care about consolidating their power and accumulating more wealth.

Also, a lot of them share a very perverse idea of the concept of "Monopoly on Violence" pertaining to the state in modern political philosophy that they get to do whatever they like with people if they cross the line but here's the catch that where that line is drawn is left for everyone to decide.

So, when an unintentional terrorist attack occurs within their "realm", they freak out because they feel that this privilege to subjugate or coerce people is challenged or worse it's about to be used against them and then and only then you get to see the ugly face of them and who they really are.


That's really a disgusting argument the 150 death this year where all civilians citizens, no stateman.


You really should use tobacco for your example:

- With car accidents people say it's inevitable, even though it's incorrect;

- With alcohol they say they're guilty;

- With 200 non-smoker deaths every fortnight in France, it is had the same properties as terrorism: people are innocent, taken away at random, and the risk increases during leisure time.

And we don't do a minute of silence for the fallen.


And as far as I know, they did not use any encryption anyway, so I don't even see the point here, it's totally unrelated. Should we ban unencrypted connections then since that's what they used ?


And even if they did, these are low tech attacks. Trying to stop people from shooting others (or knifing, or bombing) is essentially impossible, from a technological standpoint. It's like 9/11. How much money and work does that _really_ require? Is there anyone that doesn't think they and a group of friends could not have done the same thing?

[Well, with current tech anyways. A hyperintelligent AI with on-demand wormhole mastery could probably pull it off.]


Let's get to the root of it - they were humans. We should definitely ban those. Mankind is evil anyway - just think of how many victims it had! /s


Exactly, and they committed crimes using cars ! I mean, it can't just be a coincidence, in the previous Charlie Hebdo attacks, the guys also used a car to escape from there ! If we ban cars, then no more attacks, it cannot be any simpler than that !


They didn't use encryption for 1 SMS, the "start now" SMS they send with an anonymous pre-payed card. All tactical discussion go trough encrypted channels like the Telegram app or this one they made : https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CVn3xjpWEAEO0FF.jpg


Yes, they used plain SMS, but that's irrelevant. What matters for the policy makers is the propaganda.

A Belgian minister saw a PS4 console in a terrorist's room and concluded that the bad guys used the encrypted PS4 messaging system to communicate. The newspapers ran with it and this is the official narrative even today.

Guess who gets more funding to intercept more encrypted communication? And not just in France. Italy is joining the fun too, with the postal police getting new "terror watch" units that snoop on even more stuff to keep us safe.


Humans are not logical animals when it comes to the judgement of risk of harm. Sadly, the only way to counter this (public awareness campaigns, education) are not happening, in fact the reverse is happening: media hysteria about terrorist attacks, actual and 'potential', governments releasing information on, e.g., 'what to do in a hostage situation', which only exacerbate the effect of the terror campaign.


People have a tendency to brush those deaths off as "your own fault", or one off accidents. The media hyperinflation of events doesn't help either. It's actually really interesting to look at studies measuring people's relative evaluations of risk. One tidbit is that back around 9/11 and for a long while thereafter people believed that flying was more dangerous than driving, despite that being very untrue.


I recall that people took the car more, and the plane less, in the aftermath of 9/11. At least partly due to the inconvenience caused by the new security measures at the airports.

5 years later, this increase in road traffic was estimated to kill as many people as were originally dead in the twin towers. Just because people chose the car a bit more, and the plane a bit less.


Is it still untrue if you do not drive drunk?


Yes, that was for sober driving. NOVA has a pretty good article on it at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/how-risky-is-flying.html.

Their chart is slightly different from mine, in that they're counting deaths per vehicle mile rather than deaths per passenger mile, which greatly favors cars because of their lower passenger capacity.


"You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan". But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!"


There are huge numbers of laws in place to try and minimise road deaths, including compulsory licensing of people found competent to drive, speed limits, compulsory periodic testing of cars for roadworthiness. So you know the answer to the first part of your question.


Sure - but to really crack down on road deaths, how about declaring a state of emergency that prevents anyone from driving at all? If you understand why that would be stupid, you'll understand why trying to introduce the GFW of China to France is a bad idea.


I think that would be a great idea as soon as autonomous cars are available for purchase.


I'd bet even autonomous cars will kill more per year than terrorist attacks.


If we use global numbers, probably not.

>In 2014, 32,685 people were killed in terrorist attacks. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-17/global-terrorism-index...

The WHO puts global road traffic deaths at around 1 million, so if autonomous cars reduces that by a factor of 50, which seems likely, they'd kill less than terrorism.


>There are huge numbers of laws in place to try and minimise road deaths,

4600 road deaths/year sounds like those laws should try harder.


> There are huge numbers of laws in place to try and minimise road deaths, including compulsory licensing of people found competent to drive, speed limits, compulsory periodic testing of cars for roadworthiness.

Now if only we could apply the same rigour to the process of bringing new human beings into the world.


Please predict how many people could die from a terrorist outrage - the kind that a terrorist might dream of in their sickest moments?

No, it would hardly be convenient but if you insist, you can remove yourself from the possibility (or lessen the chances) of death by traffic or alcohol.

Does anyone seriously doubt that the following, even if fabricated (no reason to suppose it is) does not represent such a fantasy in some minds.

"The ISIS laptop contains a 19-page document in Arabic on how to develop biological weapons and how to weaponize the bubonic plague from infected animals. “The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge,” the document states.”


Please predict how many people could die from a terrorist outrage - the kind that a terrorist might dream of in their sickest moments?

Hardly convenient but you can remove the possibility of death by traffic or alcohol.

Does anyone seriously doubt that the following, even if fabricated (no reason to suppose it is) does not represent such a fantasy.

"The ISIS laptop contains a 19-page document in Arabic on how to develop biological weapons and how to weaponize the bubonic plague from infected animals. “The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge,” the document states.”


Lot of liberties restriction has been enacted to limit the number of death on the roads :

- increasing limitation of speed

- seat belt

- engine limitations

- speed radar everywhere

- fine without human to attest speed excess

- driver's license removal, point system

an endless list, every few month a new liberty limitation about road death is enacted


There is a benefit in being able to drive on the roads, what is the benefit in being attacked by terrorists?


Wrong questions. You need to ask: What is the benefit of being able to use Tor? What is the benefit of communicating privately with the help of encryption?


It affects you even if you never use Tor and never use encryption, because you still have to pay for all that infrastructure. You still have the risk of France becoming a police state. You still have the barriers to entry for new start-ups having to comply with onerous regulations. And you won't even be any safer.




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