Yes, You've Got Something To Hide

from the and-yes-i've-been-recording-this-conversation dept

We've tried a few times to debunk the ridiculous logic of "if you've got nothing to hide..." argument in favor of surveillance, but leave it the awesome Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal to do a much better job in the form of a simple webcomic.
In case you can't view the comic, the key line:
Everyone has something to hide and usually no one cares. By surveilling everyone, you catch the benign breaches of law and taboo. If the public are all guilty, the executive part of the government can selectively enforce laws, essentially giving them both judicial and legislative power, which defeats the whole point of separation of powers.
Right. That.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:38am

    What I find amusing, is the first time someone footholds a first world surveillance system, and a sizable chunk of data is dumped, is the only time politicians will actually care about the issue.

    Then they will push for more laws against hacking, not limited surveillance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    By surveilling everyone, you catch the benign breaches of law and taboo.

    That must be the most brilliant phrase I've read in a while. Sex in your car at night for fun and for the thrill of being in public? Expect the SWAT at your house for a myriad of reasons. Need to pee badly and the closest place is, unfortunately, the street? Expect the FBI to visit you. Did that prohibited turn to save a few miles because you got the wrong lane (and there's no vehicle in sight anyway)? Damned. Sped up above legal limits out of pure lack of attention for a few instants? Expect the bill. Wanna get a hooker to relax? Lawsuit.

    There are several small "wrongs" we do either intentionally or not. Heavy surveillance would simply make everyday life a nightmare. And for those who argue that the Government will be reasonable in such cases... Will it? Aren't there any recent examples where they went overboard?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    i think of better things you want hidden

    for instance looking up an illness a couple of times, that gets noted and then sold to an insurance company who then adds to your premium on the basis of likelihood of your having that illness. And not just you - your children and all your descendants.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:49am

    That's only the beginning. Expect the automated law enforcement to punish people, before they even try to commit anything suspicious. Isn't that the logical conclusion that machines should make?

    See http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29579/29579-h/29579-h.htm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:51am

    Re:

    > Wanna get a hooker to relax? Lawsuit.

    That suggests that maybe it shouldn't be a crime. Or should be regulated, taxed, licensed and with health checks. Eliminate street walkers offering this service.


    > Heavy surveillance would simply make everyday life a nightmare.

    Unless, it were applied to everyone including politicians and the rich, and the video was available to all. Then all of a sudden, a lot of things that are crimes would be legal. A lot of taboos would go away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:57am

    Re:

    You mean like how Google got in trouble for picking up open wireless information when they were getting information for Google Maps?


    Yea, not OK for Google to do it, but perfectly OK for the FBI/CIA/NSA.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:57am

    The 'nothing to hide' comment is the comment of the person who has nothing of note to contribute to the debate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    It's good to see this brought up again, and treated succinctly and cleverly by SMBC.

    Readers may also enjoy Rick Falkvinge's excellent rebuttal to this distressingly common trope.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re:

    ,Unless, it were applied to everyone including politicians and the rich


    That's always the sticking point isn't it? Suddenly, murders, human trafficking, drunk driving, all these heinous crimes that would ruin a normal persons life become a mere trivial exercise in pushing court paperwork when the right person with the right money is involved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Vidiot (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re:

    If I wanted to get a hooker to relax, I'd play soft music on my holophonor for her.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:01am

    Gotta fill those for-profit prisons somehow...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:05am

    Re: i think of better things you want hidden

    I would be more worried about looking up certain types of weapons out of curiosity or maybe that one time someone embedded an image on a forum from a pron video involving someone who may-or-may-not be 18 (doesn't matter if you looked at it or not, your browser cached it before you even realized it was on the page).

    we could extend this type of insanity to everything, jaywalking, right-hand turns on a red traffic light, googling the wrong phrase more than a few times.

    I quit listening to anyone who uses the "I have nothing to hide" statement ages ago because I know for a fact none of them would enjoy living in a fishbowl. This has also had the side effect of lowering my intake of pro-IP arguments by about half (you would think they would come up with better arguments after all these years).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: No this woudn't change things a bit...

    Just as with the current 'Justice' system, global watching would have the same type of 'high court'/'low court' problems...

    Video shows a Senator hiring a hooker, buying blow, doing the blow and the hooker on the roof of his limo while sitting in the middle of the congressional parking lot. Results: "An investigation found that the video equipment was 'out of license' (video equipment has to be properly licensed to avoid capturing potentially copyright infringing materials, you know) during the time period in question and thus the footage for that time period can not be relied upon and has been destroyed and is not available as evidence.

    Video shows Joe Schmoe handing cash to the guy sitting on the corner and getting a handshake in return, the next block he hands a 'self help' pamphlet to what appears to be a streetwalker and spends a few minutes talking to her about life. Results: We have evidence of you purchasing drugs from a street thug and soliciting a prostitute, fine of $1000, mandatory 're-education' for the solicitation charge, and a fine of $5000 for a violation of the Verbal Morality Statute for consorting with a known prostitute...

    Sure once we are all being watched, we will ALL be treated the same.... I've got a great bridge that spans the Mississippi in Wyoming that I'm looking to unload cheap on the down low.. .give me a call

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re:

    Prostitution should be legal for ages now. What should be prohibited is pimping and human trafficking.

    There's no unless. It's so damn intrusive that the rich would perceive it as bad and push for less surveillance. As I said, everyday life would be hell.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re:

    'Unless, it were applied to everyone including politicians and the rich, and the video was available to all. Then all of a sudden, a lot of things that are crimes would be legal. A lot of taboos would go away.'

    Actually you just nailed the main defense against massive surveillance programs/bills being put into effect, because for the strangest reason, the 'if you've got nothing to hide' group tend to shriek the loudest when they find themselves under the microscope, so the best way to defeat attempts to put such systems in place is to make it so that they would cover everyone, no exceptions.

    Do that and I can all but guarantee that support for such bills/systems will all but dry up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    Re:

    The fatal error that the author makes is that there can be a "benign" violation of law or taboo. This is false.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    Re:

    I suspect this is the ultimate motive of the sudden increase of police-state mentality. Even if they criminalize everything and begin selectively enforcing, worst-case scenario is that their campaign donors in the prison industry get more slave labor at their disposal. I'm sure many dead totalitarian rulers would be proud of the leaders of our country.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: i think of better things you want hidden

    You wanna have fun with the 'I have nothing to hide' people, just ask them if they'd be willing to have video-cameras installed in their bedroom, bathroom, living room...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re:

    I trust Google more than the government at this point, but that's not a difficult accomplishment. Google didn't intend to collect the full data and they didn't do anything with it. The government would have done so intentionally and would have archived and mined the data.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'd go further and say it's OK for Google because they don't have Enforcement powers the way The Government does.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re:

    I doubt it's so cerebral or well-planned. There are certainly known instances of judges, in collusion with private "Corrections" facilities, finding guilt incorrectly or handing down excessive sentences in kickbacks schemes.

    By and large, though, the criminalization of swathes of the US population is related to grandstanding politicians taking a "tough on crime" approach without actually looking for ways to reduce crime. Think war on drugs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re:

    There fatal error that you make in your criticism is the implication that there can't be benign violations of law. Humans are fallible and corruptible. Laws, being manmade, are subject to the same vulnerabilities. Legality is not morality and vice versa.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re:

    So 1 MPH over the speed limit is not benign?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: Re: No this woudn't change things a bit...

    LA confidencial? Classic! :)

    While the hypothetic situation is far from the real world, there are some clever references to real situations in it. Keep 'em coming.

    I am the one pushing the "sad but true button".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re:

    There fatal error that you make in your criticism is the implication that there can't be benign violations of law. Humans are fallible and corruptible. Laws, being manmade, are subject to the same vulnerabilities. Legality is not morality and vice versa.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re:

    I trust Google more than the government at this point, but that's not a difficult accomplishment. Google didn't intend to collect the full data and they didn't do anything with it. The government would have done so intentionally and would have archived and mined the data.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Chris-Mouse (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Make sure you get a public performance license for the music first.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:31am

    Does this also figure into the discussion?

    Top 10: The Quotable Eric Schmidt - Digits - WSJ: "1. And our personal favorite. In a December 2009 interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, responding to questions about Google’s privacy policies:

    “'If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.'”

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Chosen Reject (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re: i think of better things you want hidden

    Actually, just tell them you're going to start following them around everywhere.

    And then do it. If surreptitiously, send them a video or some other record of what they did. If not, make sure you are up next to them, close enough to hear phone conversations, read text messages/emails/etc. It'll freak them out.

    Disclaimer: I have never done this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're trying to argue that it's OK to break the law if you just break it *a little bit*, and that can't be a reasonable argument. If +1mph is ok, what about +2mph? If +2, why not +3? If you think +3mph is the point where it's no longer benign, shouldn't that be the legal limit? But once we 'reset' the law to what you consider reasonable, we're back to the +1mph question. Surely +1mph can't be bad, right?

    Why is there a speed limit? Because at some point the conditions of the road and the realities of human capabilities (senses, reaction time, etc) make excessive speed dangerous. If the law says that the point where speed becomes dangerous is 36mph then yes, +1mph is not benign, by definition.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    FormerAC (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:41am

    Everyone is a criminal.

    Everyone breaks the law, every day. It is nearly impossible to not break a law. Did you drive your car? I guarantee you did something illegal. There are a great many deliberately vague laws or laws that nobody pays attention to.

    Examples from NJ Motor Vehicle code
    Failure to stop vehicle before crossing sidewalk
    Failure to keep right
    Failure to keep right at intersection
    Failure to yield to overtaking vehicle
    Careless driving
    Reckless driving
    Improper turn at traffic light
    Failure to give proper signal
    Improper crossing of bridge
    Improper passing of frozen dessert truck (4 points!!!!)
    Improper action or omission on grades and curves

    If drove a car in NJ today, chances are you broke one or more of those laws. That is just a quick search of NJ moving violations that earn points.

    Face it, you broke the law somewhere today.

    A surveillance society allows the government to target anyone they fell like targeting and charge them with a crime. The feds already have the power to call you a "terrorist" and lock you away forever. No trial. No rights. No constitution.

    Right now they are very careful about using it. Unless you are Bradley Manning. There will come a time in my lifetime, when they will abuse the law. There will be a people they don't like, communists, terrorists, liberals, Muslims, gays, Mexicans, pirates, etc. and they will start locking them away.

    Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    truer words spoken in jest. strange how a machine is portrayed as having more rights to privacy than us mere mortals, isn't it? guess that's the opening for Skynet! long live John Connor!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    ChrisB (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Prostitution is legal in Canada. Exchanging money for sex between consenting adults is fine, as it should be. Talking about it in public or living off the avails of it (pimping) are not, though that has recently been challenged.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except that countless studies (relayed by Techdirt!) have confirmed that speed limits have no affect on the likelihood of accidents, meaning either following speed limits is ineffective, or people don't care about the law, meaning the law is ineffective.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Laws are either valid or invalid. Their validity is based on the harm which they are intended to prevent; their effectiveness is based on how well they prevent that law. If a law is invalid then it should not be a law, and the courts were put in place to identify and rectify this situation. If it is merely ineffective then a better law should replace it, should a better law exist. In the absense of a better law a valid but ineffective law is better than no law at all.

    In any case there is no such thing as a benign violation of the law. Violation of an invalid law, and the resulting justicial mechanism, is what protects us from the fallibility and corruption you cite. Violation of a valid law is, obviously, not benign.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the law says that the point where speed becomes dangerous is 36mph then yes, +1mph is not benign, by definition.


    No, if the law says that you cannot go faster than 35 mph, that makes 36 illegal. It's still benign in the sense that it poses no greater risk to anybody if you do it.

    Actions aren't dangerous because the law declares them so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re:

    Yes there can be. Taboo itself is so damn subjective that I won't even comment about it (remember, sex among siblings used to be seen as normal).

    In any case there are laws in the Wales (or somewhere up there) that make archery classes mandatory for all boys that reach 16 years old. EVERYBODY breaks that law nowadays. That's benign. We have the Apartheid, racism inscribed into the law that was pretty much valid not many years ago and I am sure most of us would break that set of laws quite happily. Yes, there are benign violations of laws. Actually, some of those violations are NEEDED in order for society to advance. We just have to remember that homosexuality and marriage between those was forbidden. Until someone challenged those stupid laws. Laws CHANGE and are made by men and thus prone to errors and misinterpretations.

    Further reading to help enlighten you: http://falkvinge.net/2012/07/19/debunking-the-dangerous-nothing-to-hide-nothing-to-fear/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Citation needed, but see above. An ineffective law merely needs to be improved, not violated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Canada is much more evolved than most places in the world ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actions aren't dangerous because the law declares them so.

    I agree: the law declares them to be dangerous because they are, in fact, dangerous. You are arguing nonsense if you reverse that flow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Re: Does this also figure into the discussion?

    I don't want everyone to know about my hemorrhoids, but haven't figured out how to stop having them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your reasoning is black and white, there's no gray area in it. And that's where you fail. What's a valid or invalid law for you? As I gave the homosexuality example, it was illegal and the law forbidding it was valid. How and when did it become invalid? It is not black and white. There is benign violation of laws. Take your focus away of stricter laws (ie: there's no benign violation of anti-murder laws) and focus on more mundane issues like copyright. Some great works came from copyright law violations. Or by bypassing them. Hollywood is there to prove it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Shane Roach, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Surveillance Vs. Enforcement

    The problem with trying to demonize surveillance is there isn't actually anything wrong with it. In times past the search itself was a form of "punishment" in that it was invasive and extremely inconvenient. To this day, police are not required to put things back the way they found them if searching, and that I think is as much if not more of a concern to me than the "invasion of privacy" that goes on when someone inspects something of "yours" that is stored on someone else's computer or traveling along someone else's communication equipment or across the open airwaves.

    Does everyone, absolutely EVERYONE, violate society's expectations of how we should behave in private? I doubt it. There have always been situations where something that is not alright to do in public is perfectly ok in private. The real issue is that the government and media are both complicit in using this sort of information to demonize a person before any actual legal issue is brought into play.

    I remember "Wide Stance" Larry Craig "caught" trolling for gay sex in a public bathroom. His "solicitation" however was basically to touch someone's foot with his own foot and to sweep his hand under the stall partition. This only happened after a couple of foot tappings that were purportedly a signal for gay men in that area. Did the police officer not respond? If he did, how was this a violation of any sort? Are people not allowed to communicate back and forth in public restroom stalls? Who was being harmed?

    It seems likely that all he did was to respond to the solicitation of an undercover police officer. This would under any normal circumstance be entrapment, but because of his position the information that he had been involved in such a thing at all destroyed his professional life and probably deeply disturbed his private life as well.

    No high tech was involved.......

    The issue is not that you are being watched. The issue is what we allow people to do with that information. If we establish that lying about people or sharing personal information about them without their consent is a crime, what I think will follow is that it will become counterproductive to do all this surveiling because by law it will be inadmissible to court and a violation of law to publicize without the express consent of the individual involved.

    This has implications for art, and therefore copyright, as well. It has become accepted that a person does not have any rights over images of them taken by other people in public places, but as this line between public and private places is slowly destroyed by technology and (it is to be hoped) replaced by concepts of personal privacy, the right of a person to control what is done publicly with their own words and images will take center stage, and be set up against the rights of "artists" and "journalists" to their supposed "work" of merely capturing images, likenesses, or snippets of conversation.

    I think we have had this exactly backwards for generations, and part of our trouble is we are straining to protect two mutually exclusive concepts - that a person creating an image or capturing the likeness or words of another has more right to decide what to do with that product than the subject of that image on the one hand, and that people have a right to be free of government or private harassment on the other.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What you cite are invalid laws that were invalid from the beginning; the solution to invalid laws can not be violation but prosecution and judicial overturn, as intended by the Constitution. Merely violating laws that are "dumb" erodes the rule of law and the respect of valid laws. To repeat myself from above:

    Laws are either valid or invalid. Their validity is based on the harm which they are intended to prevent; their effectiveness is based on how well they prevent that law. If a law is invalid then it should not be a law, and the courts were put in place to identify and rectify this situation. If it is merely ineffective then a better law should replace it, should a better law exist. In the absense of a better law a valid but ineffective law is better than no law at all.

    In any case there is no such thing as a benign violation of the law. Violation of an invalid law, and the resulting justicial mechanism, is what protects us from the fallibility and corruption you cite. Violation of a valid law is, obviously, not benign.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And then I fail myself. If I murder some1 out of self-defense isn't this a benign violation of laws? Obviously it will be investigated and judged but as I said, focus on more mundane small laws that many people break, willingly or not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If a law is invalid then it should not be a law


    If laws ceased to exist under such conditions you'd have a point but they don't so you don't.

    In the absense[sic] of a better law a valid but ineffective law is better than no law at all.


    It is? Says who?

    The fact of the matter is that getting laws repealed is almost impossible and new laws aren't necessarily better than old ones. Let's say you do violate an invalid law though and the 'judicial mechanism' protects you. Does this happen immediately or even painlessly? No, it's still a huge deal to have to prove that in a court and it takes a lot of time and money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Jesus are you that stupid? Laws are NOT absolute, there are times where not enough research has been conducted and the dangers these laws pose as dangers are really not. You are either trolling or you need proper education urgently.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Laws against homosexuality were always invalid, unless you can show to me the harm they're intended to prevent? I submit that no such harm exists now nor ever did exist, and any proposed harm is not true harm. Do you dispute it?

    Killing in self-defense is not murder. If you commit such a killing an investigation and prosecution will commence not because you're a murderer but to establish the facts of the case so that murder can not masquerade as self-defense. Do you dispute it?

    Copyright as we currently concieve of t is an invalid law: what harm does it prevent? By virtue of the fact that it would, if enforced, negate it's own proposed purpose - to promote progress in the useful arts - it should be plain for all to see that it is invalid. Do you dispute it?

    There is no benign violation of the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're trying to argue that it's OK to break the law if you just break it *a little bit*, and that can't be a reasonable argument.


    It isn't unreasonable just because you declare it to be unreasonable. In this specific case the margin of error on a speedometer could very well be 1 MPH or more.

    Why is there a speed limit? Because at some point the conditions of the road and the realities of human capabilities (senses, reaction time, etc) make excessive speed dangerous.


    And here we come to the heart of the issue. You're apparently incapable of seeing a law as being anything other than what it is intended to do. Is that what every speed limit is for? Not a single one is set to what it is for any other reason? If all speed limits are honestly set by this metric then they should be able to prove it and if they can there are for more effective methods to enforcing speed limits then a few cops pulling people over to meet quotas every month.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the solution to invalid laws can not be violation but prosecution and judicial overturn, as intended by the Constitution

    Like the FISA amendments that are clearly being abused (and considered invalid by a huge portion of the people that actually had contact with them?

    Merely violating laws that are "dumb" erodes the rule of law and the respect of valid laws.

    No, what erodes laws is lack of collective acceptance.

    Again you stick to your ignorant black and white point of view. Laws may NOT be invalid from the start. Technologies, behaviors and societal norms change and may render laws invalid over time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're seriously arguing that the law is infallible and anything it declares to be dangerous must be dangerous because it declares it to be dangerous? Completely ludicrous nonsense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And your solution is better? Violating a law because it's "dumb" produces no judicial mechanism to rectify the invalid law. Instead everyone everywhere merely dismisses the law. This erodes the rule of law and the respect for valid laws. What makes a law dumb? Who decides? The individual! Whatever the individual feels is his right, or should be his right, determines which laws he disregards. He defines benign by hiw own whims, not based on the harms involved. The judicial mechanism may cost time and money but the same can be said of all things which constitute civilization. The alternative is anarchy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    shane (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Civil Disobedience

    You keep saying this as if it were true - "An ineffective law merely needs to be improved, not violated."

    You seem to include in the definition of "ineffective" the concept of injustice.

    An unjust law needs to be violated until such time as it is "improved" enough to stop being unjust. Law does not take precedence over justice. The "rule of law" is absolutely meaningless otherwise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I've said before: there either is danger or there is not. It is a basic fact. If there is not danger, regardless of what is proposed by the lawmakers at the time of the laws passage, then it is an invalid law. And invalid laws are overturned by the judicial mechanism.

    I feel like I'm repeating myself, but I assume it's merely because my words are ineffective rather than a failure of your intellect. The correct response to an invalid law is to let the mechanism of government correct itself; simply violating the law erodes the respect of valid laws, does nothing to correct deficient laws, and leads to anarchy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Laws against homosexuality were always invalid, unless you can show to me the harm they're intended to prevent?

    Being homosexual was considered to be harmful at the time thus they were considered valid at the time. They were rendered invalid because society evolved thanks but not limited to a whole bunch of people violating them.

    If you commit such a killing an investigation and prosecution will commence not because you're a murderer but to establish the facts of the case so that murder can not masquerade as self-defense. Do you dispute it?

    It is still a violation of the law. There's a trick here: does self-defense exist as an exception since the beginning? How was it introduced in the law as an exception if not by many violations that proved to be 'benign' in the end? That's true regarding many other laws.

    Copyright as we currently concieve of t is an invalid law: what harm does it prevent? By virtue of the fact that it would, if enforced, negate it's own proposed purpose - to promote progress in the useful arts - it should be plain for all to see that it is invalid. Do you dispute it?

    An incredibly vast amount of people violate it and yet the Governments have done little to nothing to fix those laws. They even made them worse. Do you really believe that we should blindly follow the law till the Govt decides to change it despite the financial powers that do not wish such reforms? Do you think homosexuals should just had followed the law and behaved as heterosexuals to wait the Government fixes?

    Your reasoning is a failure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    shane (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    Civil Disobedience II

    "Violating a law because it's "dumb" produces no judicial mechanism to rectify the invalid law."

    Of course it does. With eyes wide open, a person places themselves into the justice system specifically to call into question the unjust nature of the law.

    Where have you been the last century? =)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:13am

    Re: Civil Disobedience

    Have my insightful vote.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No. I am saying that the answer to invalid laws is the judicial mechanism, not simply ignoring the laws. I feel I've said that a half-dozen times now.

    The danger of a thing is either real or not. If it is real, and law against it is valid. If it is not real, and law against it is invalid. The validity of a law has nothing to do with the assertions of lawmakers and everything to do with the basic facts of the validity of the danger.

    But in order to prevent anarchy and utter lawlessness, you can not simply violate the laws and call it benign. that erodes confidence in valid laws and the whole of the governmental mechanism. This is WHY, in great part, we have the courts. If a law is invalid because there is no harm the courts will identify this and it will be corrected. But the notion of "benign" violation short-circuits that, to our ruin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    Unanimous Cow Herd (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re:

    There are some seriously outdated and socially irrelevant laws on the books. There are also some very badly written and just plain bad laws. Violations of those laws ARE benign and trivial. For instance, in some places, there is still a law on the books that prohibits women from wearing short pants. Yes, this is here in the U.S.A. The problem is that laws are made to reflect social and moral beliefs that are different from one person, region, and time period to the next. Since many of these laws are written by religious zealots or those with a monetary interest; progress, advances in knowledge, and logic do not come into play when repealing or rewriting them. What we're left with is a hodgepodge of secular and religious legalisms that are antithetical to reality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The truth about speed limits is this...

    People drive the speed they feel comfortable with.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you're being mugged, and in self-defense you use sufficient force to physically disable the mugger (even if only temporarily), you've just technically committed assault.

    This is why exception to laws are written in. Laws are not absolute, and are not black and white. Lots of gray areas and they are very necessary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    shane (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:18am

    Eh?

    So you can hire a whore as long as you don't talk about it?

    That's not nearly as enlightened as some folks here seem to want to make it sound. =)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re:

    A drunken idiot walking home and yelling at pink clouds isn't breaking the law in most places (other than public intoxication). A drunk idiot peeing in the parking lot after the bar closes hurts no one.

    how about crossing the street other than at a corner or at a crosswalk? Isn't that illegal?

    I do that all the time.

    How about kids getting into fights with each other on the playground? Domestic dispute! It's against the law! But, guess what? It's benign because it happens a lot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In this specific case the margin of error on a speedometer could very well be 1 MPH or more.

    Now you're arguing whether you actually broke the law or not. Or are you arguing that you broke the law out of carelessness? In either case I do not see why it's meaningful: you are a danger.

    You're apparently incapable of seeing a law as being anything other than what it is intended to do.

    You are misinterpretting me. A law is invalid unless it protects against a real harm. If a speed limit, for instance, is set at 25mph not because 26mph is dangerous but because the city needs more money, that (25mph on this road) is an invalid law and should be rectified. But it is not rectified by ignoring it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The correct response to an invalid law is to let the mechanism of government correct itself; simply violating the law erodes the respect of valid laws, does nothing to correct deficient laws, and leads to anarchy.

    What do you do when the Government does not abide by such mechanisms or does not have the will? And how do you explain that despite general violation of the so-called "invalid" laws has not led to general violation of valid laws through the times?

    I agree with most that you said except that you seem to treat the governmental and judicial way as the only channels and you simply disregard civil disobedience as part of the process. Any history book will show you how it is a key part of the process. Laws should and MUST be violated if they are unjust or too draconian.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    laws are written by religious zealots or those with a monetary interest

    Those are invalid laws because they do not guard against a valid harm. Please read what I' saying before you decide to argue an unrelated point against me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    I'd have to say I disagree with the comic but only because it makes the same assumption that the 'If you've done nothing you've nothing to hide' argument makes: that privacy is about hiding bad acts. That's not what privacy is for though.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (emphasis mine)

    4th Amendment to the US Constitution


    Privacy is about preserving the right of the people to be secure. Fishing for evidence, no matter how innocent the individual, creates fear. It creates insecurity. The prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure is not there to protect the guilty from prying eyes or even to protect benign violations of the law and taboo from disclosure or scrutiny. It was designed specifically to block broad discretionary authority. It's to protect the right to live in peace and without fear.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Benign doesn't mean "it happens a lot" it means "there is no harm." If you can't see the harm in sloshing excrement in public places, in walking infront of traffic who may not see or expect you, or in casual violence, then I don't have the energy to continue a discussion with you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What your saying doesn't matter because there isn't a single government on earth whose laws are limited to expressly the purposes you describe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Selective enforcement of a law is REALLY bad. That was part of the message in the comic. Getting to the 1 mph over the speed limit example, 1 mph over the speed limit IS a criminal offence and in a perfect world it SHOULD be enforced when someone is caught. If they can defend themselves by arguing that the radar gun was mis-calibrated, or their speedometer is off, fine, argue it, but don't selectively enforce it. Selective enforcement of "little" laws puts the judicial system in the hands of law enforcement rather than the courts (executive branch vs. judicial).


    You're apparently incapable of seeing a law as being anything other than what it is intended to do

    That is important, but not really something to be arguing in this context. Nowhere in the article are misused laws being talked about. 1 mph over the speed limit is not being misused in any context I can see in the comments here. What you are saying happens, but the remedy for a law that can be misused is NOT selective enforcement. In fact, a better remedy is total enforcement. Total enforcement will cause one of two things to happen. It will either cause a jury to nullify the law, or it will raise enough awareness that people will get their representatives to change the law.

    Because people are used to a system in which they can "get away" with breaking some laws because law enforcement isn't always watching, changing the system to one in which law enforcement is always looking requires total enforcement of law or causes the role of judge and jury to fall into the hands of law enforcement through selective enforcement. Total enforcement would be VERY jarring for our society and cause lots of problems - and let's face it, law enforcement would LOVE to be in the business of being able to selectively enforce laws whenever they want - that's a power easily misused.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Have my insightful vote. If the limit set is too damn slow I usually ignore it unless there's surveillance. I drive at speeds I consider to be safe for me and for the people around me (which mean turtle-slow in crowded places for instance, regardless of if I have a free lane in front of me).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Everyone breaks the law.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. Those that break the law and those who lie about it.

    Which are you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    they were considered valid at the time.

    The harm never existed. They were never valid laws. What was considered is irrelevant.

    It is still a violation of the law.

    The law is against murder. Murder is unjust killing. Self-defense is not unjust killing. Ergo self-defense is not murder. Ergo self-defense is not a violation of the law. Self-defense is not an "exception" to the law against murder, it is simply not-murder, the same way drinking a soda is not-murder.

    Do you really believe that we should blindly follow the law till the Govt decides to change it despite the financial powers that do not wish such reforms?

    No, but you seem to be willfully ignoring what I am saying, so I don't see the point in repeating myself again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There are some absolutely insane and woefully outdated laws out there.

    Where I live driving the speed limit on certain interstates will almost certainly result in you causing an accident because the flow of traffic is more than 20MPH higher than the posted limit. You are more of a hazard by driving the speed limit than keeping up with the flow of traffic.


    A few other examples:
    Courtisy http://www.legalzoom.com/us-law/more-us-law/top-craziest-laws-still

    "If you're a woman living in Michigan, you might want to check with your husband before heading to the hair stylist. According to state law, your hair belongs to your spouse and you'll need his permission before you can alter it.

    When visiting Charlotte, North Carolina, don't plan on packing light. According to city law, you must be swathed in at least 16 yards of fabric before stepping out into public.

    Even in fashion forward New York City, there are laws concerning how a woman dresses. In the Big Apple, wearing clingy or body-hugging clothing carries a $25 dollar fine.
    ---
    Pittsburgh has a special cleaning ordinance on the books that bans housewives from hiding dirt under their rugs.
    ---
    Memphis, Tennessee, women can't drive a car unless there is a man with a red flag in front of the car warning the other people on the road.
    ---
    Texas law "When two railroad trains meet at a crossing, each shall stop and neither shall proceed until the other has passed."
    "

    So, yes, there are a lot of situations when it is 'OK' to break the law.

    To your specific example about 1 MPH over the limit, most police will give you 7 MPH over the limit without pulling you over or citing you for various reasons. On the other hand if you piss them off or they are having a bad day, or need to make their quota they will nail you for 1MPH over the limit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Dude, the Governmental/Judicial way is NOT the only solution. He says that those half-century old INVALID laws are STILL there. If it was that easy to fix or revoke invalid laws then I'd agree with you that there's no need to break any law. However it is crystal clear that there are benign violations of the law and that they are needed for society to properly function and evolve. I'm perfectly fine with updating the laws before violating them except that no Government in the world is that efficient.

    Got it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re:

    I for one think this guy is a troll, and you guys are giving him a feast.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    See above. Self-defense may resemble assault but it is not. It is not an exception to the law, it is a thing other than what the law prohibits.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So we have to follow ludicrous laws until the judicial mechanism recognizes their ludicrousness. Which is still completely ludicrous nonsense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:36am

    Re: Civil Disobedience II

    YOU get it! These other guys are saying surveilance is bad because "benign" violations will be caught and prosecuted, but YOU get it - violating an invalid law leads to prosecution that demonstrates the invalidity and rectifies the problem!

    Bless you, sir.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Re: Civil Disobedience

    No, I would count "injustice" as part of "invalid." Unjust laws can not be valid laws, and valid laws should be rectified. But they are not rectified by simply disregarding them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You're trying to argue that it's OK to break the law if you just break it *a little bit*, and that can't be a reasonable argument."

    It depends on the law. Sometimes for common cases we even make normally illegal things legal if they are done just a little bit, and sometimes we just recognize that there's no harm. Everyone agrees that drinking and driving is bad, but you don't generally get arrested for blood alcohol of 0.01%. Often, people who are technically according to the letter of the law victims of assault or battery, do not even think of calling the police because the "assault" was of such a minor nature. Many statutory rape laws make an exception for an 18 year old with a 17 year old. You can technically give somebody something worth less than $1 to vote, but not something at or above $1. Stalking and harassment laws usually only kick in after the conduct happens repeatedly. And so on. For speed limits, even though the law does not say so, you won't get arrested for going 56 in a 55 zone (and if you do, the cop was looking for an excuse to pull you over.) Why do they not pull you over? Because going 56 in a 55 is not normally unsafe.

    For speed limits in particular, the laws fail to take many things into consideration when determining a speed limit. Some drivers have better reaction times, or better vision, or are just paying more attention. Some vehicles have better brakes, newer tires, and better handling than others. Sometimes the pavement is damp and sometimes it is dry. Sometimes particular stretches of road may be slightly more dangerous than others, despite having the same speed limit. Sometimes there's more traffic. Sometimes there are more pedestrians to watch out for. Sometimes it's a bright noon, sometimes it's a dark night, and sometimes the sun is in your eyes. It's not like half the rural highways in America have the exact same maximum safe speed just because they are rated 55 or 65, and it's not like half the urban roads have the exact same maximum safe speed just because they're rated 25 or 30.

    And sometimes the law just changes. I'm thinking of a particular stretch of road that had the limit changed from 55 to 65 a while back. The road is the same now as it was then. So somehow, 56 was dangerous then but 65 is OK now? Even though now the road is older and has more traffic?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The law is against murder. Murder is unjust killing. Self-defense is not unjust killing. Ergo self-defense is not murder. Ergo self-defense is not a violation of the law. Self-defense is not an "exception" to the law against murder, it is simply not-murder, the same way drinking a soda is not-murder.

    Yes but the first ones that disobeyed the law which led to it changing to encapsulate the exceptions were de facto violating it. You won't get a law challenged easily if there's no violation of it whatsoever because when the violations actually cause no harm it is then that enough evidence will be produced to repel that invalid law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually the argument was that it's insane to hold someone responsible for exceeding the speedlimit by an amount smaller then they are able to distinguish from a legal speed. Maybe reread the example and replace 1 MPH with 0.1 MPH or 0.01 MPH.

    And if it can't be rectified or isn't rectified because the government is packed with self-interested people i.e. is a government that exists on earth? Everyone should just dutifully following the law without question then?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    It seems likely that all he did was to respond to the solicitation of an undercover police officer. This would under any normal circumstance be entrapment

    No. Stings are not entrapment. For entrapment, law enforcement must cause the perpetrator to commit a crime he otherwise wouldn't. Posing as a client does not meet that criterion.
    Go here for a layman's summary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Civil disobedience is what I've been talking about the whole time, but it only works in concert with a functioning judicial mechanism. Civil disobedience that goes unprosecuted is *simply* disregarding the law. Once prosecuted, the invalidity of the law is identified and can be remedied. This is why 100% surveilance is a good thing and there's no such thing as a "benign" violation in the sense of "should not be prosecuted."

    As to your other question... "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That is not what I said. Please reread my comments.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Who's getting harmed if some drunk takes a leak in a parking lot?

    Who's getting hurt if I cross the street outside of a crosswalk? In fact, I think those are MORE dangerous because there are cars RIGHT THERE! (Hell, my ONLY accident when crossing the street was AT A CROSSWALK!) And kids fight with each other, it's what they do.

    So, no, there is no harm. Hell, the people who prosecute those who urinate in public state it's a stupid law and it needs to get changed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Bless you, sir. You are a more-clear communicator than I.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You have described a bunch of things that make great cases for changing laws, but giving law enforcement the power of selective enforcement is still really bad. It is FAR worse when you have laws like the ones you are describing because if law enforcement wants to harass a citizen, they know that the citizen will be breaking "little" laws regularly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What you cite are invalid laws that were invalid from the beginning;


    That entirely depends upon the person judging validity. The validity of a law is entirely subjective and changes on the whims of the current power holders. Many minorities would find a lot of laws invalid, yet the majority cannot see said law any other way. If that minority became the majority, is the law immediately invalid, even though it was considered valid previously?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think your point is good in theory, unfortunately reality has shown that if people DON'T violate the law, the mechanism of government will make no effort to correct it.

    I'm also not sure that i agree that it erodes the respect for valid laws. Violating a speed limit doesn't make murdering someone more acceptable. In general people have relatively good judgement when faced with common problems. This is the heart of the trial by jury mentality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Good points but you're really not following the conversation here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I know of no state that has a zero-tolerance drinking-and-driving law; there is a legal limit after which it is recognized that you are impaired and a danger. The crime isn't drinking-and-driving, it's driving-while-intoxicated.

    Just because you don't care enough to report a crime doesn't mean a crime wasn't committed.

    Statutory rape is about coersion, and the 'exceptions' you mention merely recognize that there was no coersion, and thus no crime.

    The $1 mark is another legal limit thing, presumably recognizing that something worth less than $1 is not a dangerous influence.

    Stalking is defined as a repeated or prolonged behavior; walking down the street behind someone is not stalking.

    You're trying to find exceptions when all you're doing is emphasising how precise and reasonable laws are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So when you said "not simply ignoring the laws" you mean something other than following them? What's the difference then?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The validity is not subjective. There is harm or there is not. It doesn't matter what the minority, majority, or anyone thinks, it is a basic fact.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Civil Disobedience

    Not completely rectified but everyone disregarding them is the best we can do until they are removed from the books (which is difficult under practically any government structure that currently exists).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    Re:

    I totally agree. There are plenty of things people want to hide but are not illegal (HIV status, sexual preference, religious beliefs, etc.)

    THAT is the kind of thing that total surveillance causes a big problem with. The "we should be able to break little laws" argument is garbage. That is a problem with the laws and should be fixed by changing the laws, not through selective enforcement of them. Law enforcement turning a blind eye to "little" laws only gives them power over people that they decide they want to persecute through prosecution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They are still there because they are not enforced, thay are not put through the judicial mechanism. And because of that we all break them every day, and because of THAT we can all be hit be selective enforcement. THIS is precicely what I'm talking about when I say simply ignoring the laws does not fix it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99.  
    icon
    Unanimous Cow Herd (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I took the time to read everything you wrote. I think many here are having an issue with what you consider "valid" to mean. Laws regarding the length of a woman's skirt were written to keep men "moral". Thoughts being that they would be "led into temptation" and harm might come to their immortal soul. That position had enough "validity" with enough people get it onto the law books.

    To any law enforcement officer, if you ask, "valid" means if it is still on the books, it is still the law. Hypot: Is the officer then, seeing a woman in short pants, violating the law by not citing the woman? Is that a benign violation?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  100.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the law was against murder there was never a need to change it to account for self-defense. If the law prohibited self-defense it was an invalid law to begin with.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Harm is subjective. 100 years ago not striking a child was considered 'harm' in some quarters. Today it's absolutely considered harm in many and not in others. Harm is subjective.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Civil Disobedience

    They can not be removed from the books untl they are enforced, prosecuted, and overturned. Simply disregarding them perpetuates the problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe I'm being unclear, so I'll tie it back in: 100% surveilance as refered to in the comic IS A GOOD THING when tied to 100% enforecemnt because violations of these invalid laws will be caught and prosecuted and THEN the judicial mechanism can identify them and correct them. The implications in all of this is it's a "benign" violation so it should go unremarked and that is the issue that perpetuates the problem of invalid laws and selective enforcement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Perception of harm is subjective. Actual harm is not. If a thing is harmful, it always is. If a thing is not harmful, it never was.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And the law can only act on perception of harm so you're conceding the point then.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  106.  
    icon
    Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Interesting... seems somewhat cheaper then my normal method of coke and bourbon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Valid means there's real harm. Wether we have souls or should consider harm to them if we do is a religious question I'm not prepared to address. Wether a woman harms a man by wearing shorts, or a man harms himself by entertaining unwholesome thoughts, is a question worth considering should we want to go down that path. Who is commiting the crime? Is it wrong for a store to display jewelry, or is it wrong to break the glass and take them?

    To your hypothetical: the police officer is violating his oath, the woman is violating the law, the law is invalid. There is no such thing as a benign violation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  108.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Civil Disobedience

    Yes they can. Legislatures can repeal laws. Referendums exist. Judicial oversight isn't the only mechanism to remove invalid laws. Enforcing, prosecuting, and overturning the law requires someone to violate the law first anyway so simply disregarding the law is what kicks off that process.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Civil Disobedience II

    These other guys are rightly pointing out that catching everyone and prosecuting everyone doesn't necessarily result in invalid laws being removed unless you first assume the judicial branch is infallible and everyone has the money and time to fight the prosecution instead of pleading out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  110.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To put it another way, those that want to be disobedient in a civil manner should actually WANT to be seen, that's the whole point of their protest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    Re: Does this also figure into the discussion?

    Your phone places you in a building that contains a brothel twice a week. Dora Noyce ran such a brothel in the basement of a building in a desirable part of Edinburgh. The rest of the residents of the building were well off and respectable people (think doctors and upper management etc.). Does being placed in such a building equate to using the services of prostitutes, or are you delivering shopping and visiting an elderly relative who just happens to live in the building.
    Because of the building design, the local cop could observe whether you entered the brothel, or the flats above, and hence whether to take note of the visit or not. the danger with massive surbeilance is that such distinctions are not made by the system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  112.  
    identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Merely violating laws that are "dumb" erodes the rule of law and the respect of valid laws."

    Um, I would argue the opposite. "Putting (or keeping) "dumb" laws on the books erodes the rule of law and the respect for "valid" laws."

    For instance many of the laws that TechDirt covers here, definitely fall under that category. The laws do not keep up with the times and quickly become invalid, not applicable or even conflict with other laws. People are not going to wait for the laws to catch up with technology.

    Since most of our representatives leave it to corporate interests to actually write the new legislation, and most representatives don't even bother to read, let alone understand the laws they are voting on; and since actual public debate about new legislation is almost unheard of anymore, that also erodes the people trust in the entire process.

    Want people to follow the laws, don't write stupid ones.

    Ironically, it is our own lawmakers who are doing their damnedest to lead us down the road to anarchy by their own gross negligence and utter disregard for the very people they are supposed to serve.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  113.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's not all that insane, actually.

    What if I have a speedometer that only shows increments of 10 mph? Does that mean I can go 9 mph over the limit? Isn't it just as insane to apply the law based on insufficient equipment?

    The only problem I would see with getting a ticket for going .001 mph over the limit is if that same officer was not applying that standard to everyone he saw violating that law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  114.  
    icon
    Jeff_Vader_runs_the_Deathstar? (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re:

    > Wanna get a hooker to relax? Lawsuit.

    That suggests that maybe it shouldn't be a crime. Or should be regulated, taxed, licensed and with health checks. Eliminate street walkers offering this service.


    Not according to the Gun Debate logic... the reasonable action would be to outlaw marriage.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  115.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Civil Disobedience II

    rectifies the problem

    You must live inside a Frank Capra movie. Don't you know that in Scotland under the reign of King James, men caught having sex together were tortured by the State, tied in a burlap sack and held under water until almost drowned, then burned at the stake? That was 400 years ago, but only 60 years ago the government of the UK chemically tortured Alan Turing for the same "crime". How many millions must be tortured and murdered under your self-regulating system before the "problem" is "rectified"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  116.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:52am

    Response to: Zakida Paul on Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:57am

    "But there's only a few people in the whole world who can play the holophoner! And they're not even very good!"

    also:
    "I used to play the drums. They're kinda similar."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  117.  
    identicon
    Ruben, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The average person commits 3 felonies a day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  118.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:56am

    IMO, the laws are the issues. Laws were created by governments and more recently by those with money. Thus it makes validating or invalidating laws not as a collective of the people but to those who value money more than human life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  119.  
    icon
    dennis deems (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't have the energy to continue a discussion with you
    Let's all be thankful for small blessings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  120.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I trust Google more than the government at this point

    You trust a heavily-fined, multi-billion dollar corporation more than your own government?

    That's seriously fucked up.

    Google didn't intend to collect the full data and they didn't do anything with it. The government would have done so intentionally and would have archived and mined the data.

    oh, I understand now. They programmed you well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  121.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The harm never existed. They were never valid laws. What was considered is irrelevant.
    Except such an argument completely ignores the very good points Ninja made above and is a ludicrously narrow and binary view of "lawful" and "unlawful".
    Explain the "harm", and therefore by your argument validity, in taking a leak behind a bush in public. That would get you arrested for public indecency if seen by an officer of the law, but probably no more than a disaproving "tut" if even the most conservative old lady were to see you.
    Explain how "harm", and therefore validity, can be geographic. Prostitution is as I understand it, legal in a few states in the US but not in most. How does harm happen by driving 10 miles?
    In the UK people have been arrested for calling someone the "N" word... and yet in some black areas it can almost become a term of endearment.
    Laws have the context of life and are never, ever, black and white no matter how much you or law enforcement may try and pretend they are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  122.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re:

    Pfft. Obvious troll.
    FOAD.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  123.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    The rule of law today is that selective enforcement is the rule of law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  124.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Explain how "harm", and therefore validity, can be geographic.

    It can't be. I never said it could be. I never addressed the question of prostitution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  125.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I see what you're saying, but I mostly disagree.

    I agree that laws should not be selectively enforced, in general. Common exceptions should be codified. Rare exceptions should be RARE. 1 MPH over the speed limit should be allowed because of calibration errors (if you're tracked at 56 in a 55, there's reasonable doubt that you were in fact going more than 55.) And sometimes there's just not the manpower to enforce the laws - if every single driver is going 60, then you may want to wait a minute and catch the guy going 70, because he's more dangerous and you'd miss him while pulling over a random 60 guy.

    You can claim that a particular law is "invalid" but what good does it do you? I personally think that drunk driving roadblocks should be unconstitutional searches, but the Supreme Court disagrees with me. I know a place where there's a 35 limit on a wide, straight road with farm fields on both sides... is the 35 limit automatically "invalid" because it's ridiculous? Who decides that? What limit should be placed there if 35 is "invalid"?

    But separately from enforcement, 100% surveillance is a bad thing. There are plenty of LEGAL activities one can engage in that may be used against them if they ever run for Congress, for example. Do we really want whoever's in power to have access to everything that everyone has ever done?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  126.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Civil Disobedience II

    YOU get it! These other guys are saying surveilance is bad because "benign" violations will be caught and prosecuted, but YOU get it - violating an invalid law leads to prosecution that demonstrates the invalidity and rectifies the problem!

    It worked so well for Alan Turing. I mean, well, it rectified the problem 50+ after he was convicted and about as long since he took his own life, as a direct result of being convicted of an invalid law. And it has worked so well for copyright cases too. Sorry, but the world isn't black and white, and there are a lot of people destroyed as the result of invalid laws.

    I agree that good people tend to be abused by invalid laws before they are overturned in most cases, but there are other ways to fix the law without resorting to such atrocities. Turning the world into a police state will not likely bring about the change you think it will...except, maybe, in kicking off a world wide change of government, which is not likely to be any better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  127.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No. A law based on a faulty perception of harm is invalid and should be corrected. The mechanism for doing so is the judiciary - or, as you noted, getting the legislature to recind itself, which I've neglected in this conversation. But I concede nothing, sir.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  128.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Touche.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  129.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not obvious enough, considering most of this thread was driven by him...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  130.  
    icon
    dennis deems (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: Does this also figure into the discussion?

    You win the internet. We're gonna run out of internets at this rate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  131.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It can't be. I never said it could be. I never addressed the question of prostitution.
    OK, so when you said:
    The fatal error that the author makes is that there can be a "benign" violation of law or taboo. This is false.
    What you meant was:
    "There's no such thing as a 'benign' violation of law or taboo of the laws and taboos I'm now going to cherrypick to support my sweeping and binary-state assertion."

    Got it....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  132.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not exactly sure how you came to that conclusion. If you're interested in a conversation, I would say:

    When I said "benign violation," I meant in the sense that the comic proposed of a violation which should simply be ignored, by the perpetrator, by witnesses, by law enforcement. Such a thing does not exist for the reasons I have spent dozens of comments trying to express.

    Harm can not be regional. It can not be social, it can not be relative. There either is harm or there is not. Perception of harm is all of these things, but that's why we need to cut through perception and get to the heart of is there harm or not. Violations of invalid laws should be noted and prosecuted because that is the mechanism for identifying this invalidity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  133.  
    icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:10pm

    Basically, the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" philosophy is based on the assumption that everybody else is moral, ethical and honest and, moreover, shares your morals and ethics.

    That's a pretty big assumption.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  134.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Does this also figure into the discussion?

    Does being placed in such a building equate to using the services of prostitutes, or are you delivering shopping and visiting an elderly relative who just happens to live in the building.

    Take it up with Eric Schmidt. Google is monitoring you to the best of its ability and what it does with that info may or may not factor in context.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  135.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You trust a heavily-fined, multi-billion dollar corporation more than your own government?

    That's seriously fucked up.
    You sound surprised. http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/01/08/congress-now-less-popular-than-head-lice-cockroaches-and-the-don ald/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  136.  
    icon
    dennis deems (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Civil Disobedience II

    Oops was logged out -- I wrote the above.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  137.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You keep coming back to "is there danger or not" as the reason why laws should exist....

    Please explain the danger that necessitated copyright laws and what danger they are preventing today in the digital age?

    If laws were only made to remove danger from the public, you might have a point, but so many laws on the books today have been bought to prevent competition or to somehow limit or restrict competition in specific markets.

    What is the 'danger' in practicing law without a law degree (other than ending up in Jail for having no clue what is going on)? Yet there are laws that prevent this very thing (other than pro se self defense)... and those laws are to prevent competition on the legal arena by non-lawyers.

    But you are just trolling, so trollallalalal

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  138.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:10pm

    Re:

    Don't the politicians realise that Watergate would have been much easier to carry out if a total surveillance system existed. There would have been no break-in to give the plotters away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  139.  
    icon
    Lurk-a-lot (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes it is. The fact that Google actually is more trustworthy than most governments is indeed fucked up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  140.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    Re:

    That nightmare may force everyone to look pass perfection and start accepting good enough.

    I have no illusions, privacy on the streets is dead.
    Is not just the government doing the snooping, but everyone, you can buy a security system for $100 and goggles with a camera for $50, everyone will be recording everybody soon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  141.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All too often that is a speed that the vehicle feels comfortable at, which can be too fast for the distance that they can see, or the potential dangers like people near the road.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  142.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No. Self-defense is assault with mitigating circumstances.

    You have still committed an illegal act until tried as a defense under the laws of the land.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  143.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, you want to live in Mega-City One.

    Good call.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  144.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The fact that Google actually is more trustworthy than most governments is indeed fucked up.

    I would say that any company (Google included) that pours a lot of money into lobbying IS the government these days.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  145.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:39pm

    It's built into the system now

    Data collection/monitoring/surveillance is everywhere these days. And since much of government data collection is being done by private contractors, I'm not sure you can say where private ends and public begins.

    CES: Technology Moves Off the Screen, Into Your Stuff

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  146.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "oh, I understand now. They programmed you well."

    I heard aluminum foil protects against that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  147.  
    icon
    Joe Publius (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 2:57pm

    MY favorite line

    The line about constant surveillance and selective enforcement is great, but my favorite panel is the last one:

    This coversation is being recorded.
    That's a violation of my privacy!

    If we wish to maintain a level of privacy regarding our activities from the government, then we must be doing something wrong. If we as the public demand or even for transparency from the government for their own activities they claim it's classified or necessary for the national defense.

    Something is fundamentally wrong when the secrets of an individual aren't worth protecting, but the secrets of the government are forever above scrutiny. A lot of bad things follow that path.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  148.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He argues just like AJ does. And when proven wrong, he keeps beating the same drum over and over. Just like AJ does.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  149.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Civil Disobedience

    Disregarding them and not enforcing them are not nearly as bad as unjustly enforcing bad laws, even if it means getting them overturned.

    Enforcing unjust laws mean that corrupt LEOs and prosecutors can ruin the lives of innocent people if they want to. Just because the law is invalid and might be overturned by a court after a lengthy, possibly life- and finance-destroying trial doesn't mean that innocent people should have to be sacrificed for that purpose. It also doesn't mean that people who have guns pulled on them by cops or bullied in interrogation rooms won't take bad advice or won't get pressured into taking a bad plea bargain on bullshit charges.

    The system of overturning unjust laws is not perfect, so doing things "properly" won't always result in justice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  150.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But the author is talking about the way laws work versus how real life workss and the dichotomy of too much visibility of people's day-to-day lives. It is firmly illegal to expose yourself in public, whether you are taking a leak or not and yet, as he and I pointed out, it is unlikely that even the most conservative person would complain on seeing it.
    Consider these scenarios:
    1/ Guy goes behind tree in park at night, whips his tackle out and takes a leak. Person passing by sees him taking a leak.
    2/ Guy goes behind tree in park at night, whips his tackle out then steps out as person passes by. No threats, just stands there exposing himself.

    In both cases by the law the same crime is committed: indecent exposure. Now assume the person who happens to see in each case is a police officer. In case 1 there's a good chance that nothing more happens - the police officer carries on their way, or maybe "cautions" the guy to be more careful where he relieves himself.
    In case 2, the chances of the guy not being arrested are slim.

    This is exactly what is referred to as a "benign breaking of the law" and the point being made is this:In scenario 1, it is the police officer's discretion that no arrest occurs, though a crime has been committed.
    Now scale that up and imagine that there is documented proof of everyone who ever took a leak in public or went skinny dipping in college, or smoked a joint just to see what it was like, or brought in an extra bottle of alchohol duty free through customs. Now everyone can be prosecuted and locked up at the whims of law enforcement for doing nothing that society does not consider benign.

    Imagine that you were suspected of, let's say, an assault. There's no proof, you are just the prime suspect. Now, if they want, they can "get you off the streets to protect decent people" any time they like for the myriad tiny laws you've broken - they don't need proof of what you're supposed to be locked up for, because they have the proof of all that other stuff. That's what it's talking about. To say that "benign lawbreaking" doesn't exist, or to think that excessive surveillance isn't a problem is seriously ignoring reality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  151.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Violations of invalid laws should be noted and prosecuted because that is the mechanism for identifying this invalidity."

    Why should THAT be the mechanism? "This law is obviously invalid. Let's arrest someone for it so we can fix it." Why not just fix it, and skip the arresting of people who have obviously not violated a valid law? If Alabama tomorrow passed a law outlawing blacks from voting (which is an obvious direct violation of the Constitution) would you seriously say that the police should arrest every black who attempted to vote? Do you not see why that would be a horribly bad idea, and why the police should NOT attempt to enforce it?

    I would also like you to recognize that your arguments only make ANY sense with a benevolent government. Imagine 100% surveillance and enforcement in Iran, and how THAT would work. And then remember that Iran was not always run by religious extremists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  152.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not according to the Gun Debate logic... the reasonable action would be to outlaw all sex.

    Fixed that for you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  153.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Boy, Potyomkin, I bet you're real fun at parties. I'm guessing you just ooze with charisma.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  154.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's seriously fucked up.

    The federal government? Yes, yes it is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  155.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're still assuming a perfect system would be in place. There isn't one currently, so why would you expect there to be one with 100% surveillance also?

    For your quixotic system to work, there'd have the be enough people to prosecute all the violations that take place in order to systemically weed out all the invalid laws. The problem with that is people still get prosecuted under invalid laws and the laws don't always get overturned, so it can still perpetuate invalid laws to prosecute them and that's worse that just not enforcing the invalid law. It takes less effort on both the citizen and law enforcement to ignore an invalid law than it does to prosecute and overturn a law.

    There aren't enough people, there isn't enough time, and we shouldn't have to pay for the number of lawyer man-hours it would take to overturn all the invalid laws, even if you could indeed overturn every invalid law.

    On top of all that, there are clearly examples of benign violations of valid laws that completely negates your entire argument:

    Exceeding the speed limit is against the law. You exceed the speed limit in order to get a person to the hospital who has an emergency medical condition. By all facts, you have indeed violated the law, but you did so for the purpose of saving a life. That is clearly a benign violation. You didn't hit anyone. You didn't endanger lives by any demonstrable measure. You in fact might be argued to have saved a life. If the purpose of the speeding laws is to reduce the danger to lives, and you fulfill the spirit of the law by breaking it, then why should you be prosecuted? And the law is clearly valid, so you wouldn't want to overturn it.

    The practical reality of what you're advocating for is either zero tolerance (and thus very unjust application of the law) or else an even more complicated legal system than we already have in which every exceptional scenario for every law is amended to it so that your lawyer would have to hire a lawyer to figure out how the law even works.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  156.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 4:34pm

    Different context, but: “If you make ten thou­sand reg­u­la­tions you destroy all respect for the law.” - Churchill.

    We've gone far past that. The law is laughable. Everyone breaks the law at some point, probably every week or day. Only reason society functions is no one is watching.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  157.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Violation of an invalid law, and the resulting justicial mechanism, is what protects us from the fallibility and corruption you cite.

    If we lived in a society where the courts treated everyone equally I might agree with you. As it is, with the high court/low court problem we have, we must avoid this total surveillance society.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  158.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I've said before: there either is danger or there is not. It is a basic fact.

    That's incorrect. There is always danger, at any speed. The speed limit is just where the people in charge of speed limits have decided the danger is at the highest acceptable level.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  159.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Civil disobedience that goes unprosecuted is *simply* disregarding the law.

    That's a strange definition of civil disobedience.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  160.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Common exceptions should be codified. Rare exceptions should be RARE.

    In Potyomkin's idea, those rare exceptions would be prosecuted. Either you would have people routinely* going to jail for things that society deems acceptable, or the laws would become (if possible) even more labyrinthine than they are now. There are no other options if we went down that route.

    * rare exceptions times 320 million people times millions of laws becomes quite common

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  161.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Murder is unjust killing." = logical fallacy.

    Murder IS predetermined killing.

    Your argument is full of fail... you murder logic sir!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  162.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I meant "The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  163.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    gods... go read a dictionary..

    "It is not an exception to the law,(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  164.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm terribly sorry that you think laws are 'precise and reasonable.' We live in the real world where we must deal with these laws and the 'people' who are entrusted with their enforcement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  165.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes. I drove home completely blasted after a fifth of whiskey and two pints of Guiness. I was clearly over the legal limit, yet I managed to get home without incident and without getting caught. I clearly broke the law, but there was no harm, and thus it was a benign breach. This is the issue with your argument. Law is not black and white by any means.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  166.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In Australia brothels are legal (in fact we have two listed on the Australian Stock Exchange). The whole Sex Industry is heavily regulated with the workers (women or men) coming under OH&S laws with full employment benefits for all legalised brothels.

    Street walking is still a crime when a pimp is involved, though it is legal to prostitute oneself under self employment rules or in a partnership/cooperative arrangement.

    Oh and condoms are by law mandatory.

    The Industry is actually very much self regulating too with constant improvement in conditions since employment laws and OH&S laws are very strong and the workers also pay taxes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  167.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nope its a defence of the law. A way to mitigate it or cancel it out. You will still be charged with Murder though.

    What Potyomkin is pedantically stating about the usage of the word benign though is true since a law by itself cannot be benign, though the way it is applied can be absolutely benign.

    Law itself though is in effect a social (read nowadays governmental) construct to impose order, predictability, equity, structure, security, and above all else confidence onto the public in its many institutions.

    The problem comes about when these things neither actually happen or the perception is given that they do not occur or the law is ambiguous. That is when laws need to be changed, amended, or wiped.

    Law also needs to be simple, succinct, and relevant otherwise it is prone to abuse - Tax law is a prime problematic example of this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  168.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:39pm

    Re: Re: Civil Disobedience II

    ;)

    But things like 'Jury nullification" is a term that is liable to get you locked away for the 'good' of the public nowadays. And if your a solicitor/attorney who brings it up in court.. OMG!!!!

    Though the other route, non-violent protesting is now being equated to anarchy (the oxymorons are strong in governments nowadays) which is to any government authority an absolute form of assault on their power base which must be stamped out with much fear and hand waving.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  169.  
    icon
    shane (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:39pm

    Surveilance vs.

    Ah, I see where you are coming from. Essentially you really just meant to say that it is not a good idea for people to get flippant about disobeying the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  170.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 8:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And the perfect crime is one where no one knows that a crime has been committed.

    Most people do perfect crimes every day and most of them wouldn't have a clue that they have done them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  171.  
    icon
    shane (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:03pm

    Re: Civil Disobedience and Homosexuality

    Fact is the laws regarding homosexuality were all reversed due in no small part to a good bit of civil disobedience. Privacy achieved nothing but the prolonging of the legal sanction against homosexuality. Essentially, hiding it served as a tacit admission that the law was indeed just.

    Murder does not become palatable if you do it in the privacy of your own home. The issue is really never the surveillance. It is the nature of the law itself that is problematic.

    Where technology runs afoul of the 4th ammendment is it ceases to be a search because your "personal" effects are not hanging around out in public.

    Almost from the beginning I felt that most people misunderstood the nature of the internet and needed to realize it is much more like a huge ball room with many cozy tables for people to gather at than it is like some psychic, private, inviolable direct connection between people or organizations. Your privacy on the internet has always been largely illusory.

    It's still a useful tool, but it's no place to keep evidence that you broke the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  172.  
    icon
    shane (profile), Jan 9th, 2013 @ 9:09pm

    Speed Limit

    Can we be fair? Even if someone were to use internet surveillance to somehow discover you sped by 1 mile an hour, and for the sake of argument we assume the prosecution went forward and you were convicted, or perhaps just pled guilty, the fine for that is not overwhelmingly crippling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  173.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 12:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Says you, you fucking statist pig.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  174.  
    identicon
    JarHead, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 1:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I believe what he's trying to say is this:
    "Let's stress test the system"

    I do believe if something we know before hand that something is broken (or invalid), we must immediately either fix or scrap that. However, not everything can be determined before hand so easily. Sometimes the problem only appear when the "thing" is put in real world use. This is what I believe what he meant by "prosecuting offenders of an invalid laws", so that a law which was considered as valid before, can be shown/proven as invalid.

    The caveat is that the prosecutor is a good sport, who can take can take the newly found "invalidity" gracefully and make real changes; not someone who use every loophole under the sun just to save face.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  175.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 2:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are claiming that just because you got home safely while over the legal limit, it was a benign breach. I was not a benign breach, but rather reliance on nothing too unexpected happening on the way home. Your gamble may have failed, and you could have put someone else in hospital, or killed them, because your reactions were severely impaired.
    You claim that it was a benign breach is wrong, you were gambling with other peoples life and limb.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  176.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 3:18am

    Re: Re: i think of better things you want hidden

    Doing online research, and on site research for a book like The Day Of The Jackal could become a very risky undertaking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  177.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 3:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Murder in the second degree is not premeditated, and is distinct from manslaughter.

    Are mss-shooters not guilty of muder because they killed many people? Or maybe you'd say that's several successive cases of one-on-one killing? What if it's a bomber instead who kills a dozen people with one device?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  178.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 3:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I believe copyright and the other laws you cite as "to prevent competition or to somehow limit or restrict competition in specific markets" are invalid, by virtue of addressing no real harm. Do you dispute it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  179.  
    icon
    Potyomkin Critic (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 3:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't see how that's meaningfully different than what I've said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  180.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 4:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are reasoning yourself in circles by saying that the law is against murder, and (legitimate) self-defence isn't murder. However, you're missing the key bit - *legitimate* self-defence.

    Self-defence is usually legal, but subject to reasonableness - in most places, if someone spits at you or even takes a swing, an appropriate response is not to pull a knife or a gun. Usually, murder is defined as killing someone outside of 'allowable' situations. These include non-intentionality/accident (manslaughter), war (and other government-sanctioned killing), and self-defence. However, these need to be specfically called out as not all killing in 'self-defence' is legit (look at the Trayvon Martin situation - there was a need for a Stand Your ground law to give people the right to gun other people down without it automatically being murder).

    So ninja's point makes more sense here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  181.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Civil Disobedience II

    Which King James? We've had six! :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  182.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Civil Disobedience

    History tells us otherwise.

    Monopolies fell(e.g. Revolt of the Commons) because people started disrespecting them.

    Disrespect for the written law is friction caused by some factor.

    A law never enforced is a useless law, a law not followed by anybody is a useless law and more important a law that nobody wants to help enforce is a weak law.

    You seem to assume that the law as mandated should be the only thing that can impart order but it is not.

    Even to "rectify" "invalid laws" as you so call it you say they need to be prosecuted to show how they are broken, but to prosecute it first there need to be disregard for that law in the first place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  183.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Civil Disobedience

    Not really no.

    I doubt that many people know that in all states or countries for that matter there are old laws that nobody not even law enforcement use anymore, those laws are dead for all intent and purposes and never get "rectified" the ones that get "rectified" are the ones that affect a large part of the population in some way and create friction, which can be expressed by many forms for which the most common is disregard for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  184.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    there either is danger or there is not. It is a basic fact.


    And nobody is arguing otherwise.

    And invalid laws are overturned by the judicial mechanism


    But only when they go to court, and to get to court, someone had to violate the law.

    The correct response to an invalid law is to let the mechanism of government correct itself


    Laws are never corrected by just waiting for the law to be corrected. The government is not automatically self-correcting.

    simply violating the law erodes the respect of valid laws, does nothing to correct deficient laws, and leads to anarchy.


    Violating bad laws does not erode the respect for good laws. The mere existence of bad laws erodes the respect for all laws. Violating them is a symptom of that erosion, not a cause.

    Also, much (maybe most) of the time in our history that bad laws were ultimately corrected, those corrections only happened as a result of civil disobedience: violating the laws to be able to get the case into court.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  185.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well said, but you missed the worst abuse, politicians abusing the system to control political speech or embarrass an opponent. A hint in the right ear is likely to have the desired result.
    Similarly protest leaders can be locked up as a means to deal with political unrest, even if they are leading a peaceful protest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  186.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    100% surveillance coupled to 100% enforcement would tie the courts in knots, unless the enforcement is a statutory fine that cannot be contested. It would also lead to an increase in offences where statutory fines applied, as a revenue generating mechanism for the government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  187.  
    icon
    dennis deems (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Civil Disobedience II

    VI

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  188.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jan 10th, 2013 @ 3:16pm

    Did Techdirt ever address this?

    Whenever the issue of government and privacy comes up, I point out that we also need to address private companies and the data they collect.

    I was doing a bit of research on the topic and today plugged in the right combination of words to find this story, which was covered by quite a few different media outlets. Was it ever touched upon in Techdirt?

    Court Upholds Google-NSA Relationship Secrecy | Threat Level | Wired.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This