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Why the Latest FISA Release By Google Et Al. Means Squat 131

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the reading-this-violates-0-to-999-laws dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google, Yahoo, and other tech firms are offering some updated statistics about government requests for data. There's just one problem: under revised guidelines issued by the federal government, those companies can still only report a range, rather than a definitive number, for those requests. If that wasn't fuzzy enough, the range can only be reported after a six-month lag. Between January and June 2013, Google received between 0-999 FISA 'non-content' requests on 0-999 user accounts; it also fielded between 0-999 'content' requests for between 9000 and 9999 user accounts.Yahoo actually received a larger number of FISA queries than Google: for the first six months of 2013, the federal government made between 0-999 requests on between 30,000 and 30,999 user accounts hosted by the company. ... These companies have little choice but to advocate this new information release as a huge step forward for transparency. Unfortunately, restricting government data requests to a broad range isn't very helpful: for example, a range (rather than a single numerical value) makes it difficult to determine trends, such as whether government requests are gradually increasing over the long term."
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Why the Latest FISA Release By Google Et Al. Means Squat

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  • Classic Slashdot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iONiUM (530420) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @02:35PM (#46164335) Homepage Journal

    This is off topic, but I'm getting a warning at the top of Slashdot that classic is going to be going away soon (looks like in 4 months).

    How many people will leave if they cut it off completely...?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @02:35PM (#46164345)
    Re: the new one - do not want.
  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @02:39PM (#46164391)
    Seriously considering it, yes.
  • by JLennox (942693) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @02:40PM (#46164397)

    I do not understand what they're attempting to fix and how they think this new version resolves those issues.

  • by ageoffri (723674) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @02:42PM (#46164419)
    Don't know if I'll leave but it wouldn't take much to push me over the edge with the bad redesign. Of course if you want to see an absolutely horrible redesign pull up nbcnews.com
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @02:51PM (#46164519) Journal

    I've sent them an email telling them that the minute they make it mandatory, I'm gone.

    Maybe someone should submit this a story. Let's see if the editors are willing to let the community do a little "meta" bitching.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @02:53PM (#46164547) Homepage Journal

    I said the same thing. I have no idea what drug the people were on when they considered redesigning nbcnews.com, but if ever there was a drug that needed to be outlawed, that is the one.

    Who in their right mind could possibly think that making a web site look like Windows 8 was a good idea?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @02:56PM (#46164579)

    I do not understand what they're attempting to fix and how they think this new version resolves those issues.

    The problem: Their hosting costs are too high, caused by too many visitors.
    The answer: Drive the users away.
    ???
    The result: Profit!

  • by neminem (561346) <neminem@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @02:57PM (#46164589) Homepage

    Presumably like most UI redesigns, they're attempting to fix "looking like they aren't doing anything". The new version fixes that by making it quite clear that they did something. (Like most UI redesigns, "breaking everything horribly" is a pretty good indicator of having done things. Just not *useful* things.)

    As the old saying goes - if it's not broke, fix it 'til it is.

  • by Bruce66423 (1678196) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:05PM (#46164687)
    It gives an idea of the scale. If they are getting court orders for less than 1000, we can believe they have reason to look at that data. If they are getting orders for 100,000 we KNOW that they are not seriously engaging with the information that they are getting. It's not a great gain, but it's not squat. OTOH if it's all we ever get, then it's probably not worth anything. If nothing else, it gives us hope that we can get more control in the future...
  • by iONiUM (530420) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:05PM (#46164693) Homepage Journal

    Is everyone e-mailing feedback@slashdot.org to tell them? I hope so.

  • yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antipater (2053064) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:06PM (#46164709)
    If this is "fine", I don't even want to know what you considered "half-baked". Stories and commenting are literally the only functions available. I can't access my profile, log in/out, look at messages, or see the poll. Hell, it doesn't even show users' sigs.
  • by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:13PM (#46164789) Homepage Journal

    just assume the highest number of it. Case closed.

    mod up... this is the best way to handle the numbers. When looking for trends, you'll know it's trending when the range jumps. But considering the numbers should be in the 0-xxx range, and often aren't, trend analysis is kind of useless; there should already be concern just based on the static range numbers.

  • "Little Choice?" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:13PM (#46164793) Homepage Journal

    These companies have little choice but to advocate this new information release as a huge step forward for transparency.

    Ah, bullshit - they very much could release the full details, but are afraid of government retaliation. That's not the same thing as "having little choice" but to engage an alternative.

    You know why Paul Revere was awesome? Not because he rode a horse yelling some stuff, but because he risked his life and livelihood as a silversmith in the name of Liberty.

  • by peragrin (659227) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:15PM (#46164819)

    The one and only thing I don't like about classic is moderating. bring the beta's moderate functionality to classic and bamn your done.

    though i don't think the feedback teams even care anymore. I think slashdot corporate overlords are pushing new web synergies to modernize, and (insert buzzword bullshit here).

    That is why they keep trying and keep failing. Slashdot is supposed to be content and random posts (some from trolls, some from wannabe, and some from insightful people). you make it not about the discussions and the people will leave.

  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:44PM (#46165103) Homepage

    Classic Slashdot is mundane, functional, utilitarian. It does the job without much chrome or flash. Geeks love it because it is the epitome of function over form, although to takes some time to read all the comments to get the most out of it. It's a website for hobbyists and the grunts in the field.

    Beta Slashdot is the opposite. It attracts the eye, and is more about the summaries than the comments. It is quick tidbits of tech info that can briefly be skimmed by busy professionals. The comments are less visible because they intended to be a less important part of the place. It changes Slashdot from a community where the bulk of its value comes from the users - which Dice does not own, has no control over and cannot ensure the quality or quantity thereof - and more one where the editors are the ultimate source of the information and content. In other words, it is the sort of site at C-level execs whose message will ultimately be controlled by Dice.

    From where I sit, it looks as if Dice's ultimate goal - and the reason behind its redesign of Slashdot - is not because they want to make it more useful to its current users but because they are trying to orient it more towards CIO and "business intelligence" types. Of course, what makes Slashdot worth visiting is the comments and people interested in the articles have far better choices available to them than Slashdot BI. Dice is sacrificing its current user base in hopes of attracting a more lucrative set of customers. I don't think it will work. Their current base will migrate away to more geek-friendly websites and the hoped for C-levels have little reason to visit this corner of the Internet in the first place.

    All in my opinion, of course.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:52PM (#46165167)

    I once heard a TV exec who talked about the "New Guy Syndrome." Every time a new network head was brought in, all the existing shows on the network (with the exception of the REALLY successful ones that were vital) were put on the chopping block and everything in development was cancelled. The reason being that the new guy couldn't claim credit for any of the existing stuff, or anything in development that broke out and became a success. So new guy comes in and immediately wants to gut everything and put in all his own stuff, so that he can claim credit to the board for anything successful going forward.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A black panther is really a leopard that has a solid black coat rather then a spotted one.

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