This week, our first place winner on the insightful side comes from all the way back on last week’s comment post, where an anonymous commenter took a moment to thank us for the openness of our comments:
tiny bit off topic, but since this article is about comments this still seems fitting:
I wanted to say thanks for having a site that makes it easy to post comments.
There have been several sites that I’ve felt inclined to comment on (or file software bug reports to :( ) that I simply gave up on due to insane requirements like having to create an account or give my email address. If the barrier to entry for “basic community participation” on a site is not trivial, then odds are it’s not worth the time or energy.
I know it sounds kinda crazy but in person you don’t have to present photo ID or give your street/mailing address just to talk to someone. Internet communities have no strong reason to be different (that can’t be addressed in better ways).
(Thanks for the kind words! We have every intention of keeping it that way.)
In second place, we have a response to SCOTUS’s decision not to review Kim Dotcom’s civil asset forfeiture case, where one anonymous commenter responded in the form of a quotation:
It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished.
But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, ‘whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,’ and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.
– John Adams
So the DoJ steals his stuff, tries to hold it over his head by requiring him to forgo his right to fight extradition if he wants to try to get it back, the courts buy the DoJ’s argument in it’s entirety, and the supreme court decides that it’s not interested in even considering the case.
Goodbye right to fight extradition.
Next, we head to our post about the UK Home Secretary’s patronizing and ignorant stance on encryption backdoors, where one commenter proposed that a safe system could be developed by using a separate individual encryption key for every message, prompting an anonymous commenter to put the scale of that suggestion into perspective:
Average number of iMessages sent per year: 63,000,000,000,000,000.
Current secure key storage size: 2048 bits (256 bytes)
That’s 1,600,000,000,000,000 bytes of information per year.
Would you care to put up the cash for the 1.6 petabytes of storage that your suggestion would take (not counting the necessary metadata needed to tie the key to the message)?
Oh, and don’t forget that you have just shifted the one thing you would need to decrypt all messages from “the master decryption key” to “access to the database of decryption keys.” Unless you really trust Apple to keep those keys secure (as much as you’d trust, say, Yahoo!, Equifax, eBay, Target, Evernote, FriendFinder, SnapChat, the Turkish government…)
Over on the funny side, our first place winner comes in response to the lawsuit against a King’s College football coach over tweeting a page from a 1982 motivational book. Roger Strong was struck by the book’s title:
You have to respect someone who writes a book called “Winning Isn’t Normal”, and 35 years later still endeavors to prove it by example.
In second place, we’ve got a response to Oracle’s letter attempting to scare the White House away from open source software, where Toom1275 took advantage of the syntactically ambiguous punctuation in the letter’s subheadings, which began with the label “False Narrative”:
At least Oracle was nice enough to clearly label some of its false narratives as such for us.
For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with one more nod to Roger Strong, this time for a comment on the UK Home Secretary post making a good comparison about the futility of demanding the impossible:
Her government would also find it much easier to balance the budget, if only those mathematicians weren’t so patronizing in their responses to requests to change the rules of mathematics.
Finally, we’ve got a comment from Vidiot about Oracle’s letter, which went ahead and gave a key sentence a new ending to make it much more accurate:
“The USG’s enthusiasm for open source software is wholly inconsistent with…”
… Oracle’s need to skim easy federal money from decades-old, proprietary installations.
That’s all for this week, folks!