Hunter Walk's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the week-that-was dept

When my good friend Mike Masnick asked me to guest post on Techdirt, I answered just as most Americans would, "What's Techdirt?" I kid, I kid. Other than a name suggesting we're going to get more scoop on Sean Parker's wedding or the Bustle.com launch, I've known Techdirt to be one of the best places online to get deeper analysis and reaction on issues most news sites can't, don't or won't touch. In my former life as head of product at YouTube, Techdirt provided great overviews of DMCA & copyright issues. Now as a partner with Homebrew, a seed stage venture capital firm I co-founded earlier this year, I see the intersection of technology and regulation every day in the questions new companies are raising with regards to issues such as small business licensing (eg Lyft) and talent acquisition (eg immigration).

Here are several stories from this past week which were particularly interesting to me:

UK Prime Minister Calls ask.fm a "Vile Site" critiqued David Cameron's calling out of community Q&A site ask.fm for not just hosting, but being responsible for, the behavior of its users. Tim Cushing files this under "overhype" and suggests that sites such as ask.fm can't be called "vile" because they are at worst "neutral." Blame the people, not the host. I have to say I disagree. Being a "platform" doesn't absolve you from having a point of view, community standard or a moral center. All of these sites - YouTube included - make choices about what content is appropriate and how to handle inappropriate content. Lack of clear content flagging channels, absence of contact information, and non-responsiveness (all of which ask.fm have been accused), are all choices. Proactively or reactively, platforms have the option to push back against certain types of behavior. If they overreach, they will decay but if they take no real voice in the matter, they are not just neutral players.

Oh Microsoft, using the DMCA to block web links to Open Office. While the headline *might* suggest willful misconduct, Mike Masnick notes within the body that it was likely automated takedown requests - like dolphins getting caught in the tuna nets. The DMCA is a powerful tool and I'd hope we see incorrect, abusive removals punished, but that never happens. It was the SOPA/PIPA legislation which revitalized my interest in tech policy. I believe IP protection definitely needs continued evolution to protect all participants, but I'm especially weary of legal frameworks that make it harder for independent creators to survive because they have neither the means or knowledge to properly defend themselves from copyright infringement claims.

SF Chronicle, one of my local papers, removed their paywall after just four months. Growing up in New York City I have an almost irrational love for newspapers. Not just news, but the actual paper. I understand this is an anachronism for most, but I still get the weekend NY Times delivered to our home and if I had more time, would receive it seven days a week. We sometimes confuse the collapse of legacy news reporting cost structures with the loss of news in general. In many ways it's never been a better time for creation and access to information. What does sadden me is that we can end up with the content we deserve. That is to say, click bait, faux aggregation, shoddy fact checking. People need to vote with their wallets and attention - direct it to the sources you think matter and starve the others.

Speaking of content aggregators, the Getty Museum took a positive step forward via its "Open Content" initiative. Ultimately they'll make 4,600 high res images of public domain art work free to use. Public domain and fair use are essential components of a creative society and as generations of students, artists and critics find new ways to utilize, transform and inspire, it's exciting to see an institution embrace, as opposed to reject, the calls for openness.

And I'll close this week with an important editorial from Masnick which demands that the tech industry needs to "suck it up" and start really fighting back against the NSA. The problem is that for most companies, their consumers don't seem to really care because it's a slow boil, a theoretical problem that the government has all this data. What would be our flash point? What causes a data "Arab Spring?" Would personal information on tens of millions of Americans need to be erroneously exposed on a second-hand hard drive? Would we need a tragic story of a government employee who misused data to stalk and attack another citizen? I worry that without an issue that is tangible, immediate and personal, most folks shrug their shoulders.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading and remember, real time can be a trap. Just because it was published NOW doesn't mean you need to read it. Take a look through archives - there's some great stuff that's older but relevant.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 1:23pm

    A week of Much Masnicking.

    Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.

    I think an unprecedented focus on the one topic of NSA -- not its actual crimes but surrounding trivia -- evidently trying to cash in on hot topic. Certainly so on Friday, in which Mike got below 45 minutes between posts. -- Or the Masnicking was to to cover the unusual absence of minions. -- And also absence of the regulars! Rather nice, that.

    Were some accidental laughs as Mike projects, which I put into tagline:

    Mike Masnick on Techdirt: "a bogus, laughable group that is spreading ideas that would do massive harm to the internet based on a near total ignorance of how things work."

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 3:21pm

    Ask.fm

    Without going down the road of victim blaming. Ask.fm is not to blame.
    Yes they have responsibility of their business.
    They do NOT have responsibility of the kids that use the site. That is clearly the parents. I wouldn't let my kids roam the streets unsupervised and talk to strangers (biggest risk being physical harm but mental harm also exists). The internet is different tho... It's much bigger and the potential risk of mental harm is greater due to the broad spectrum of people.



    This is a fundamental lack of understanding of the internet.
    Billions of people. Some good, some bad, some fucking evil. All invited into your home to communicate with your kids via the computer. What could go wrong!

    I blame the lack of warnings and education about what the internet really is. Bullying exists. Harassment exists.We already have laws to deal with that.
    We don't have laws punishing neglect of "duty of care" for parents who irresponsibly let their kids socialize with random strangers online.

    I don't let my kids have facebook etc... I make them always use Pseudonym accounts for anything they do online. I keep tabs on where they go and what they do. I explain the reality of what the internet is.
    Called parenting.


    The internet is NOT your kid's babysitter
    It's billions of nodes with a variety of people behind them.
    Just like walking through every good and bad neighborhood in the whole world, you see lot's of faces with a variety of people behind them.
    You wouldn't let your kid walk through every good and bad neighborhood in the whole world ?
    And communicate with anyone ?
    Let anyone ask questions ?



    Blame is on the parents.
    They should blame the government for not educating the public about the reality of the internet.


    email, facebook etc... strangers can ask questions too

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

    Re: A week of Much Masnicking.

    out_of_the_blue on Techdirt: "a sad, bitter, little human that is so afraid of facing facts, exploring actual evidence, and being open minded, that he can do nothing but accuse everyone else of being horrifically wrong so as to cling desperately to his personal worldview of total omniscience."

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 5:06pm

    In the current issue of 2600 there is an article entitled, "Getting Free Media - All Without Torrents!". Read the article then ask yourself, "I wonder if this oh-so-tech-savvy author has ever heard of sites like Filestube or Filetram?".

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Ask.fm

    So you start a website, let ANYONE write ANYTHING, and pretty much walk away. Whatever then happens on that website has absolutely nothing to do with you because it's the 'internet'?

    Is this the rationale?

     

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  6.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Aug 17th, 2013 @ 6:29pm

    Tim Cushing files this under "overhype" and suggests that sites such as ask.fm can't be called "vile" because they are at worst "neutral." Blame the people, not the host. I have to say I disagree.

    I know I speak for everybody, especially myself, when I say the vetting process for the weekly Favorites post is clearly broken.

     

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  7.  
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    Bergman (profile), Aug 17th, 2013 @ 6:40pm

    So if not being biased against anyone or anything means you can't be neutral...

    ...what exactly is neutrality to you? And what color is the sky on your planet?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 9:30pm

    Re:

    There's not a great deal of free thought goes on here is there.
    Gotta say though, I do love watching the car-crash that is tech dirt groupthink.

     

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  9.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 17th, 2013 @ 10:06pm

    Re: Re:

    You done been 'whooshed'.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 12:08am

    Re: A week of Much Masnicking.

    Given all the times you've been proven wrong and the fact Mike has a business administration degree and has run two successful businesses this is a laughable statement


    It's like a Guy who doesn't even know how to turn on a computer telling a professional assembly programmer how little he knows about computers

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 12:37am

    no

    no.
    As i said, we have laws to deal with stalking, harassment, slander, threatening etc...
    Use them.

    KIDS should not be exposed to mass communication with "anyone". Be it on facebook, askfm, twitter, the street, the city etc...


    You wouldn't expect to walk through a really bad neighborhood and be safe. Yeah, you might dislike that you got mugged or got beat up because you are the wrong religion or are the wrong color of skin. What did you seriously expect?

    It sucks but it's reality.
    Belfast UK.
    You wouldn't walk in a "protestant area" wearing a Celtic football jersey.
    You wouldn't walk in a "Catholic area" wearing a Rangers football jersey.
    You would get the shit beat out of you. In America the same reality exists via race and wealth in areas.
    That reality is accepted throughout the world and is not just a third world problem.


    You can't ignore the reality of what the internet is just because you want to impose what you think it should be.

    Kids should not be exposed to the ability to mass communicate to "ANYONE" in literally the whole world. Their brains are not developed yet. And the whole world has a lot of major sickfucks in it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 1:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Double think!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 1:56am

    Re: no

    So the whole internet is adults only?

    "You can't ignore the reality of what the internet is just because you want to impose what you think it should be."

    I never said I wanted to impose anything per se. I am really trying to understand the rationale behind the "tech dirt" idea of internet freedom.

    I would wager that at this juncture you've left behind the EFF - where the idea comes from.Left behind everyone maybe except the ghost of Ayn Rand ( not someone you want to be walking alone with, perhaps).

     

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  14.  
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    Lurk-a-lot (profile), Aug 18th, 2013 @ 2:11am

    Re: Re: no

    You have managed to ignore the point of the original post in a single step. Way to go!

    That's -1 internets from you sir.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 2:39am

    Re: Re: Re: no

    I've made it clear I've missed the point, That's why I'm asking questions.

    You've barged in with a 'ha ha , -1 internet',
    What's that?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 3:25am

    Re: Ask.fm

    "Yes they have responsibility of their business.
    They do NOT have responsibility of the kids that use the site. "

    This is a contradiction right here as their business IS the kids that use the site. And it is kids that use the site.

     

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  17.  
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    Craig Welch (profile), Aug 18th, 2013 @ 4:45am

    Why would you want the weekend newspaper delivered seven days a week? Surely reading it once it's enough.

     

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  18.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 18th, 2013 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not double think - but a failed sarcasm detector!

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 5:40am

    Re: Ask.fm

    Blame it on the rain...or the bossa nova...or Rio...or Vanity.

     

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  20.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 18th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Ask.fm

    Blame it on the boogie

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 3:58pm

    Replying to the bad parent who probably lets his kids chat with paedos

    Kids shouldn't be using it unsupervised. END OF.
    Any parent who lets ANY random stranger in the WHOLE world freely communicate with their child. (probably unsupervised at that) well... that parent is a failure and is not parenting or protecting their child adequately. Especially in the realm of potential mental harm.

    A lot of parents haven't got a clue. That is the problem.
    You really think a decent parent would let their kids online "for real", as in sharing their name etc... IF they knew that there could be paedos talking with their kids ?
    ■ Billions of nodes
    ■ Practically every node has a person behind it
    ■ REALITY

    Don't let your kids freely associate and become friends with peados, stalkers and the assortment of sickfucks that exist in this world. A [report user] button will not cut it. But I bet you think facebook is safe to leave your kids with.

    PROTIP: StalkerBook is 10000000000 times worse than askFm.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 4:24pm

    hidden comments look like people replying to wrong person

    The internet is mostly people. Some good, some bad.
    2,405,518,376 people by 2012 statistics. (probably more than 3 Billion now)
    That's the reality. Every person can communicate with EVERY person.


    So yeah... The internet should probably be "Adults Only" to the extent that supervision is required for minors. Out of 3 billion people, how many sickfucks do you think there are ?

    Fuck all to do with Ayn Rand. It's reality of 3 billion people being able to communicate freely to each other.

    Maybe you should acknowledge reality, perhaps?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 4:57pm

    Also... it ain't a contradiction.

    ■ They do NOT have responsibility of the kids.
    ■ The parents have responsibility of the kids.

    ■ askfm's business is NOT the kids who USE the site.
    ■ askfm's business is hosting anonymous questions.

    Literal facts. Not even close to a contradiction.

    You may be literate and well educated for all I know. Literal comprehension is most definitely not your strong point. That is relevant to this "argument" as you have maybe unknowingly dismissed and miscomprehended statements of fact that lead to clearly defined factual conclusions.

    I rest my case.

    And if you have another somewhat related issue that clouds your judgement of what is the factual reality of the internet, try to get rid of it. It is obviously affecting your ability to comprehend factual reality. At a guess, I would say you think the internet should be what you want it to be. It isn't. No point denying it.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2013 @ 4:59pm

    Re: hidden comments look like people replying to wrong person

    "Every person can communicate with EVERY person."
    Minor quibble but, the largest group of connected people are the Chinese, and I can't communicate with most of them.

     

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  25. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2013 @ 1:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: no

    You get censored on Techdirt if you don't toe the party line.

    This site is a sad joke.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2013 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no

    You keep using that word....

     

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  27.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 19th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Ask.fm

    Blame it on the boogie

    Works for me. I am planning on blaming the entire fall of modern civilization on disco music anyways.

     

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  28.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 19th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Ask.fm

    Is this the rationale?


    No. The rationale is that the people who do wrong things should be the ones who get punished for it.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: hidden comments look like people replying to wrong person

    Minor quibble is bullshit quibble.

    You can communicate with any connected Chinese person on the net (minus a few rare exceptions). Just because you isolate yourself from reality doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    Talk about ignoring the argument and picking holes in insignificant portions in an attempt to win at least one victory of unrelated argument.


    Also... fire up google translate and visit sites like http://www.chinabyte.com

    Ignoring 10% of the internet is probably convenient to you. I don't usually say things like this. But you are acting moronically.

     

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