By samzenpus from Slashdot's giving-yourself-permission department
An anonymous reader writes We've talked quite a bit about National Security Letters (NSLs) and how the FBI/DOJ regularly abused them to get just about any information the government wanted with no oversight. As a form of an administrative subpoena -- with a built in gag-order -- NSLs are a great tool for the government to abuse the 4th Amendment. Recipients can't talk about them, and no court has to review/approve them. Yet they certainly look scary to most recipients who don't dare fight an NSL. That's part of the reason why at least one court found them unconstitutional. At the same time, we've also been talking plenty about Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which allows the DOJ/FBI (often working for the NSA) to go to the FISA Court and get rubberstamped court orders demanding certain 'business records.' As Ed Snowden revealed, these records requests can be as broad as basically 'all details on all calls.' But, since the FISA Court reviewed it, people insist it's legal. And, of course, the FISA Court has the reputation as a rubberstamp for a reason — it almost never turns down a request. However, in the rare instances where it does, apparently, the DOJ doesn't really care, knowing that it can just issue an NSL instead and get the same information. At least that appears to be what the DOJ quietly admitted to doing in a now declassified Inspector General's report from 2008."Read Replies (0)
Designing the Best Board Game
Posted by News Fetcher on December 31 '14 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-not-pass-go department
An anonymous reader writes: Twilight Struggle tops BoardGameGeek's ranking of user-rated board games, handily beating classics like Puerto Rico, Settlers of the Catan, and Risk. FiveThirtyEight has an article about the game's design, and how certain design choices can affect enjoyment. Quoting: "Gupta has a few theories about why his game has done so well. For one, it's a two-player game — the Americans vs. the Soviets. Two-player games are attractive for a couple of reasons. First, by definition, half the players win. People like winning, and are likely to replay and rate highly a game they think they have a chance to win. ... The data offers some evidence for Gupta's hypothesis. Games that support three players rate highest, with an average of 6.58. But two-player games are a close second, with an average rating of 6.55. Next closest are five-player games, which average 6.39. ... The shortest games are the lowest rated, on average. But players don't favor length without bounds. Three hours seems to be right around the point of diminishing marginal returns. Another key to the game's success is its mix of luck and skill."
What design elements do you particularly enjoy or hate in board games?Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's partly-sunny-with-a-chance-of-people department
sends an article by Orin Kerr about a court case where a judge has had to weigh Fourth Amendment protections against law enforcement's ability to use a Doppler radar device to tell whether people are present within a home
. Kerr writes: If the government has the burden of proving reasonable suspicion, should the court treat the absence of information in the record on this point as not changing its otherwise-reached view that there is reasonable suspicion (as it does), or should that be treated as a potentially serious deficiency in getting to reasonable suspicion that the government has to overcome?
I’m not sure of the answer. We don’t normally encounter this question because we normally understand the uses and limits of investigatory tools. If the officer looked through the window and didn’t see any other people, for example, we could intuitively factor that into the reasonable suspicion inquiry without having to think about burdens of proof. I’m less sure what we’re supposed to do when the government use a suspicion-testing technological device with unknown capabilities."
The judge in the court case wrote, "New technologies bring with them not only new opportunities for law enforcement to catch criminals but also new risks for abuse and new ways to invade constitutional rights
(PDF). ... Unlawful searches can give rise not only to civil claims but may require the suppression of evidence in criminal proceedings. We have little doubt that the radar device deployed here will soon generate many questions for this court and others along both of these axes."Read Replies (0)