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Getting to the Point

It's getting to the point where I just don't give a shit anymore.
 - Stefan Stilts

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It's more and more a wonder how people who care about the welfare of the Internet can get any work done, what with all the Microsoft Windows woes continually threatening the neighbourhood, what with all the horseshit being shoveled out by the demaogues in Redmond, and what with all the idiots out there still knowing absolutely nothing but never tardy in expressing opinions or pushing legislation anyway.

After weeks of the latest Microsoft scandal which seems to only get worse and worse, after governments begin issuing strong statements against the use of web products from Microsoft, now we get this. Count on Microsoft's Craig Mundie to be there to distract, muddle, and obfuscate when his buddies finally seem doomed.

Behold the man who knows best what you need online.

Behold him in the company of those he cherishes most - four of the coolest guys in the world.

Ten years after increasingly furious non-Windows users first began suggesting the Internet drivers licence, Mundie and his orcs are - typically - now broaching the subject as if it's their own idea.

Of course they have more doodads than the original suggestion - but who cares? What people who care about the welfare of the Internet have to do is stop working, take time to read this latest shovel of horseshit, and deconstruct it for everyone - and hope a few people get a clue.

The best strategy is to simply cut through the horseshit - through the scare tactics, the details of the plan which accomplish little more than impress the feeble-minded - and get straight to the chase.

There is nothing wrong with the Internet but there is everything wrong with Windows and Microsoft web products in general. They're not made for the Internet. They're endemically unsafe and they cannot be fixed.

That's it. And now for a bit of fun. These quotes and comments are culled from forums and speak more eloquently than any PhD-level treatise on the non-subject.

But before the fun starts: remember that products and vehicles are supposed to be safe. Try to keep in mind that a certain savvy is needed to operate any appliance - but the level of savvy espoused here actually compensates for crappy MS products.

Now for the fun.

Drivers Licence Quotes (and Comments)

1. Mundie and other experts have said there is a growing need to police the Internet to clamp down on fraud, espionage, and the spread of viruses.

Thanks to your shitty OS.
2. 'People don't understand the scale of criminal activity on the Internet. Whether criminal, individual, or nation states, the community is growing more sophisticated', the Microsoft executive said.
People expect their systems to be secure out of the box.
3. 'We need a kind of World Health Organisation for the Internet', he said.
No. We need to rid the world of Windows in its current form.
4. When there is a pandemic, it organises the quarantine of cases. We are not allowed to organise the systematic quarantine of machines that are compromised.
And who watches the watchers?
5. He also called for a drivers licence for Internet users.

'If you want to drive a car you have to have a licence to say you are capable of driving a car, the car has to pass a test to say it is fit to drive, and you have to have insurance.'
As far as I'm concerned, Windows doesn't pass the Internet test and is therefore unfit to continue.

I guess he wouldn't want the Internet equivalent of vehicle inspections, since every Windows machine would fail the inspection.
6. Unlike a car, the Internet is something people have to use all the time.
You forgot about cabbies and truckers?
7. No drivers licence is going to stop people from getting suckered by scammers.
It's called 'defensive driving' on the real highways, shit-for-brains.
8. Sure, more education could be helpful, but any sort of requirement that they need to pass a test won't stop people from getting on the Internet and doing something stupid.
This is true, especially as you seem to know - as no one else - that people prefer being stupid and getting their savings and identities stolen and learning why Windows isn't the shizzle.
9. If anything, it will give people a false sense of security online.
This arsehole's got investments in Windows antivirus companies.
10. Yes, there are issues with scammers online, but we're not going to fix them with some bureaucracy and forcing people to take a proficiency test.
He's a demagogue. He sidesteps the real issues by luring people into the topic of phishing. And now hopefully all the idiots forget (if they ever knew) about the botnets, the drive-bys, and all the rest of that Windows crap.

But It Has Been Done

The EU used to run a drivers licence programme for the citizenry. Kids in European schools took an Internet drivers licence exam at an early age. But their test was more formidable than the EU test. You had to see the EU test to believe it: things like 'show us how you save a document in MS Word'. If people are having issues with that then they should be banned from the Internet forever.

Radsoft tried a drivers licence test years and years ago. They did a lot of work with it. It bombed - because people proved to not be as dumb as they'd suspected. They were dumber. From the Rawstory comments.

As to the idea of a 'drivers license' fuck off you moron . [sic]

To be sure: there were a lot of seasoned professionals who really loved the idea and the test.

The test itself took about three hours to complete and it was so constructed so you wouldn't have time to Google the answers you needed. (You were given a time limit to complete the test return your answers.)

Radsoft went out and bought paper diplomas, scanned several and worked on them with Photoshop, then chose the best and sent it to successful applicants as a 750 KB PDF. But what the F - it was cute. They also made ID cards with the same message.

There were different tests for different operating systems as the requirements for staying safe online differ from system to system. (The non-Windows tests were actually easier.)

And Wired got into this years ago too. Nine years ago.


In a connected world, we suffer from the consequences of other people's computer ignorance.

This summer, inboxes have been filled to overflowing with SirCam-infected e-mails, a hassle even if you don't click on the attachments. And well-protected networks continue to be whacked by constant scans from Code Red-infested computers.

Most security experts lay the blame for the widespread virus and worm attacks on sloppy hardware and software design, and say that systems are designed with far too many unneeded fancy features intended to woo the reluctant buyer but skimp on basic 'boring' security.

Even Delio's editor Adam Penenberg who'd outed Stephen Glass knew better than to let her use the name 'Voldemort' in the article. But everybody knew who the article targeted - who Voldemort really was.

No, the IDL idea won't work. This was known at least ten years ago. But the Internet as it functions today doesn't work either. ISPs are not about to limit their revenues because they have destructive idiots wanting to sign up. Greed is the final arbiter as always.

But governments are getting into the picture now. The fat pinstripes in the capital cities - historically the most clueless of Internet users - are starting to get worried not that the Internet is dangerous but that they themselves might get into trouble.

And when they start to feel that panic, they'll buy the easiest, cheapest, most accessible solution. Especially if it comes with a visit to a nice restaurant and an after-dinner stop by the local luxury whorehouse. Nothing is ever too critical for a politician to try to get perks and have fun at the same time.

But that route would be too costly and too ineffective. The real solution - and admirably cost-effective - is a lot easier to implement. Several ISPs have been close already but none have dared go all the way - they're afraid of retribution from you-know-who. And those 'you-know-who' crooks bring in a lot of revenues for a lot of people. Think 'banana dictatorship' and you'll get the idea.

And for the record: now you're looking straight in the eyeballs at why Microsoft always make cheap imitations of dazzling Apple GUI features. People don't buy 'boring' security - they buy doodads. They're not as dumb as you think - they're dumber. Should anyone have a feature Microsoft can't duplicate in at least their typically third-rate fashion, then people will migrate from Windows - and lo and behold they'll discover how great it is to have a 'real' operating system for a change.

And you-know-who can't let that happen.

So it's the fat pinstripes who can - who have to - make the difference. One single signature on a dotted line and it's all over. And the level of protection we need is cut dramatically. And the security researchers can actually afford to take tea breaks and spend weekends with their families.

Outlaw Windows. It's unfit for use.

It occurs to me that a massive retaliatory attack needs to be launched. Either by computer nerds or nuclear bombers.
 - 'Catmoves'

See Also
Radsoft Rants: False Positives
Radsoft: Internet Drivers Licence
Time: Driver's licenses for the Internet
Science|Business: Framework for the future
New York Times: Driver's Licenses for the Internet?
V3: Microsoft's Mundie calls for 'Internet driving licence'
Microsoft Exec Calls For 'Driver's License for the Internet'

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