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The fundamental issue isn't their culture or organizational structure, it's their unethical missions, which breed cultures of secrecy and opaque, unaccountable and defensive institutions. I don't see how you can set up a spy agency to prevent it from evolving in that direction. Would love to hear of counter-examples, though.

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If MS hadn't explicitly said things like "We're going to cut off their air supply" in reference to the bundling, they might even have gotten away with it.

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I haven't tried Yik Yak as it seems like a black hole of drama and ignorance. However, I think it is being used in interesting ways. Students were able to use it to severely disrupt a frivolous and disruptive class requirement. It's potentially very democratizing, though perhaps it's only bringing out the worst aspects of democracy.

http://emutalk.org/2015/01/a-new-faculty-challenge-fending-o...

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I'm curious, have there been bugs in VLC which would allow arbitrary code execution on linux? What about the video player in google chrome?

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VLC http://www.linuxsecurity.com/content/view/162615/

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Yes for both.

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Where is the original discussion? Googling the text just gives me similar gists.

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There's a discussion of this over in the other thread. The general consensus there is that this capability is not that remarkable, and individual hackers have done similar things on a smaller scale.

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Given Snowden's stated values, it's highly unlikely that he would report such a breakthrough.

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  > intelligence agencies need actionable intelligence
For the most part that hasn't really been how it's worked so far. Generally intelligence agencies have used the information they've gathered so far to try to manipulate people.

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Yes, who's going to plug removeable media from the US into their machine after reading this story about the conference CDs?

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Pretty much everyone is going to carry on plugging in US-sourced media just as they did before, and be happy and unconcerned about it.

To borrow from James Mickens [1] the vast majority of people's thread modelling falls into the 'NOT-MOSSAD' category. People with a 'MOSSAD' threat model should not have been inserting arbitrary removable media into their secure computers in the first place, so their habits don't need to change. Although obviously some people either incorrectly assessed their threats, and need to upgrade them, or were careless and need to be more careful...

[1] http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/people/mickens/thisworld...

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I guess he's given up. Whining in public like that seems like a really bad idea, if he's serious about landing a permanent position.

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