Judge Who Doesn't Understand Technology Says WiFi Is Not A Radio Communication

from the seriously? dept

Well, this is disappointing. As you probably know, about a year ago, Google admitted to accidentally collecting some data from open WiFi networks via its Google Street View cars. The cars were setup not just to photograph streets, but to do some location-based tracking by cataloging WiFi networks (a very common location setting technique). If you understand basic technology, you can understand what they were doing, and how it was almost certainly not to capture data from the network, but just to determine location info. Furthermore, the only data it collected was from open WiFi networks where people were transmitting unencrypted data in the open. This was data that was being broadcast.

But, lots of people don't understand technology and people around the world, including in governments, freaked out about this data collection. So, of course, people started filing highly questionable class action lawsuits. As more and more such lawsuits were filed, they were all consolidated into a single court. Earlier this year, we noted that the judge was trying to determine if Google's actions amounted to an illegal wiretap under ECPA (the Electronic Communications Privacy Act).

If you understand how wireless networks work, the idea that this is wiretapping is hilarious. And wrong. This is data that is broadcast in the open. Anyone can read it. You don't need special equipment or anything. You just need basic software to see what data is traveling across the network.

Tragically, the judge has gone the other way on this point (so far). Google had asked for the wiretapping/ECPA claim to be dismissed, as it claimed (quite reasonably) that it wasn't wiretapping. The judge put together an astoundingly confused ruling that decides otherwise. While the link here blames the wording of ECPA, which is certainly partly to blame, I think the judge's confusion over the technology is equally at fault. Basically, it's true that ECPA is somewhat vaguely worded, but it does say that:
It shall not be unlawful under this chapter or chapter 121 of this title for any person... to intercept or access an electronic communication made through an electronic communication system that is configured so that such electronic communication is readily accessible to the general public
Furthermore, the statue defines "readily accessible to the general public... with respect to a radio communication" by saying that it is the case if the communication is "not scrambled or encrypted."

So, this should be open and shut. An open WiFi network is clearly readily accessible to the general public by its nature. And the statute doubles down on that point by noting that the communication was not scrambled or encrypted, and thus is, by the definition in the statute, "readily accessible to the general public."

So we're done here. Right? Not unlawful. Except... no. The judge instead goes through some of the most convoluted reasoning imaginable to try to claim that data transmitted over WiFi is not radio communication. Say what now? It is true that ECPA was drafted before WiFi existed, but that doesn't mean it's not a radio communication. That's what all wireless communication is. It's a form of radio communication. That's just basic technology. But not to this judge. And, thus, Google doesn't get to dismiss the wiretapping charges. Hopefully they'll appeal and somewhere up the chain this will be corrected.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    johnjac (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    Also

    Also coming after ECPA: HDTV broadcast. So anyone tapping into those "electronic communications, watch out"

     

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  2.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:42pm

    It's clearly from Xenu!

    Oh wait, wrong trope.

     

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  3.  
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    Steven, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    TL;DR Judge is a moron.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Didn't Google collect encrypted data too?

     

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  5.  
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    Thomas (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    Typical for judges..

    who may know the law, but very little about technology. The judge wouldn't know a wi-fi router from a cable tv box

     

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  6.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:12pm

    Re:

    I don't know.

    But if the encryption is any good, what good would encrypted data be?

    I thought that what Google was trying to collect were MAC addresses to build a gigantic database to enable more precise geolocation of phones, even when GPS is turned off on the phone.

    Example: I often turn off GPS to conserve battery, unless I specifically need very precision location, such as for driving/walking directions. But I don't turn off the location capability. I appreciate it with my phone can pin down its location more precisely than just the cell towers. For instance, the phone might recognize the MAC addresses of several nearby WiFi hotspots, even if they're not open for public use.

     

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  7.  
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    Lord Binky, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:12pm

    Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    It makes me sad that it is not a requirement that a judge is not required to have fundamental understanding of a subject he is making a ruling over. Hell, at least just put the most basic of effort to at least not appear incompetent.

    FOR THE LOVE OF RESEARCH HE DIDN'T EVEN WIKIPEDIA Wi-Fi!
    which contains the basic description of Wi-Fi
    "IEEE 802.11 radio standards"

     

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  8.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    Although...

    Not all wireless communication has to be radio, there is such a thing as laser communication too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-space_optical_communication

     

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  9.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    What can Google do?

    Clearly the judge does not understand the technology and has made an erroneous result based on that misunderstanding.

    What can Google do?

     

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  10.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Stinky...

    Something smells about this case. Like the judge that said that running a different program on a computer makes it a different machine, thereby giving legitimacy to software patents. Smells like the same stupidity all over again.

     

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  11.  
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    Lord Binky, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    Encrypted as a whole or just a part in the middle.

    You get to get technical once you touch on the encrypted part. Is broadcast itself encrypted, or is just one part of the communication (data portion of a packet) that is encrypted. I'm not a judge so I don't need to double check before throwing random ideas out. But I would believe that any packet the reciever is able to identify (sniff) as a standard 802.11 broadcast without decrypting (since that would require a key, different from demodulating), it is not an encrypted/scrambled broadast. Granted that a portion of the contents of the communication is encrypted, the broadcasted communication itself is not since it has unencrypted identification components.

     

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  12.  
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    PlagueSD, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Although...

    Not all wireless communication has to be radio, there is such a thing as laser communication too.


    Not true. All laser communication is basically wifi...on a different frequency. The electromagnetic spectrum contains everything from Radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultra-violet, x-rays, and gamma rays (from low to high frequency.)

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Although...

    Not true. All laser communication is basically wifi...on a different frequency. The electromagnetic spectrum contains everything from Radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultra-violet, x-rays, and gamma rays (from low to high frequency.)

    No, he was right. Although laser and radio are both electromagnetic, that doesn't mean they are the same thing.

     

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  14.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    Your kitchen serves food, but it's not a restaurant.

    I don't see it as a great stretch that "readily accessible to the general public" includes people who DO NOT actually INVITE the public in. Nor are you invited into a wedding reception just because the door is open.

    And please, Mike, show us your data which is not based on Google's own statement, that confirms you in stating that no encrypted data was collected. -- And please tell us how their receivers determined that without receiving it!

     

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  15.  
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    Boost, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:53pm

    Hmmm

    Did this judge just make listening to a public radio station illegal?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    Demigod Judges

    Under the law, it is what ever the judge says it is until a higher ranking judge says otherwise. If the judge says the moon is made of Swiss cheese, then the moon is made of Swiss cheese (until a higher ranking judge says otherwise).

     

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  17.  
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    Shawn (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Although...

    How many places of buisness have a router, that uses lasers, and on an open frequency though? For this specific case I think we can safely assume that these open WIFI spots were using consumer brand linksys, belkin or some other radio broadcasting band as that is what %99.999 of businesses use. Am I mistaken?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Your kitchen serves food, but it's not a restaurant.

    I don't see it as a great stretch that "readily accessible to the general public" includes people who DO NOT actually INVITE the public in.

    You don't know much about open WiFi and how it broadcasts public invitations, do you?

    And please tell us how their receivers determined that without receiving it!

    Again, you are just demonstrating your ignorance of how WiFi works. (Hint: The encryption is negotiated before the encrypted data is sent.)

    You really should learn a little more about such things before spouting off about them in order to avoid looking like such a fool.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    Here's the rub: The key term is "electronic transmission". Basically, it isn't illegal to receive the signal, but it is illegal to decode in any manner an electronic transmission without permission.

    You can receive the analog and listen to the beeping and buzzing of the encoded signal. But you cannot decode it, even if it is a "public" broadcast. Clearly, making it digital is already enough to make it somewhat private, as additional equipment beyond a radio receiver is required to decode it.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    How many places of buisness have a router, that uses lasers, and on an open frequency though?

    Few, I would imagine. So, now, how does that make laser and radio the same?

     

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  21.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    What makes me sad is there isn't a system in place for the public to punish the attorneys involved for not clearly laying out the facts of the case. Remember that the judge's job isn't to know everything. The judge's job is to look at the facts placed before them and make a determination.

    I've seen attorneys purposely confuse judges on multiple occasions and, since I'm not involved in a legal profession, I'm betting that it's a standard procedure. Obviously, there needs to be some sort of fine for attorneys who obfuscate or maybe a bounty for every incorrect statement, said bounty being paid by the attorney who filed it.

    Or something.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:14pm

    Well, if it's not radio...

    So wait, does that mean we can now use WiFi on planes?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    Remember that the judge's job isn't to know everything. The judge's job is to look at the facts placed before them and make a determination.

    So, some attorney in this case presented false evidence purporting to show that WiFi isn't radio based and that is what the judge based his ruling on? Citation, please.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:28pm

    The U.S. is very innovative aversive and the govt just wants to find any excuse to pick on those who innovate. Google is one of the few companies that innovates (don't think Apple innovates either, much of what they do is copied from others, often in other countries, including the alleged look and feel of the IPad that they're suing Samsung over. What a stupid thing to sue someone over).

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:30pm

    Re:

    Well, I guess they innovate in the sense that U.S. companies copy from other countries, block foreign businesses access to the U.S. through IP and other laws, and then they sell the products in the U.S. and elsewhere.

    Then again, other countries (hint, hint - China) do a lot to block foreign countries from selling products within their borders, like leveraging high tariffs, so the U.S. isn't the only guilty party here.

     

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  26.  
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    wade, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:32pm

    Judges

    How do these morons even become judges?

     

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  27.  
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    Alessar (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:35pm

    I'm really tired of rulings made based on technological incompetence.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:36pm

    Re:

    Clearly, making it digital is already enough to make it somewhat private...

    Clearly, you don't know what you're talking about. Your comment here was posted using digital communications. Does that make it "somewhat private"? I think you're full of it.

    ...as additional equipment beyond a radio receiver is required to decode it.

    Again, you should reconsider making such ignorant statements. Digital radio receivers decode digital transmissions just fine.

    I realize that you may hate the idea of open WiFi and people communicating freely, but your statements are ludicrous.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Packet Radio

    Even before the days of wireless, people used packet radio to transmit all sorts of data over radio waves. If snooping unencrypted wireless signals is illegal, then so is listening to packet radio.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Packet Radio

    I say we abolish the FCC and all of the laws that it created. No broadcasting monopolies!!!!

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Your kitchen serves food, but it's not a restaurant.

    You obviously don't know what wifi is. Do you know what SSID means? Do you know what it means to have a router broadcast the SSID out? It means precisely what you think it doesn't mean. It's an invitation to other wifi devices to connect to it. out of the blue is about as smart as this judge it seems.

     

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  32.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Your kitchen serves food, but it's not a restaurant.

    While I'm unsure of why you display your total ignorance so proudly, you're at least less obnoxious than our resident AC and less verbose than darryl. For this, at least, I thank you.

     

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  33.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:54pm

    Re:

    "it is illegal to decode in any manner an electronic transmission without permission"

    Wouldn't a publicly broadcast SSID without encryption be implicit permission to do so? If not, why not?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 3:11pm

    Re:

    Q: What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 75
    A: Your honor

     

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  35.  
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    Shawn (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    It doesn't but we can safely assume that what google was gathering was through radio and not laser. This means that what they did was not illegal wiretapping. That's my point. This is a radio broadcast and not a laser broadcast

     

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  36.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    I didn't say these transmissions might not be radio; clearly they were. Mike just said all wireless communication is radio, which I disagree with.

     

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  37.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    Re: What can Google do?

    Appeal, probably.

     

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  38.  
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    JMT, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    How can Rose offer a citation on what is obviously speculation on her part? It's a perfectly reasonable possible reason for what happened. You don't think a lawyer would take advantage of a judge's suspected lack of understanding?

     

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  39.  
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    JMT, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    Of course since your "correction" is completely irrelevant to the story, you just come off looking like a bit of a dick...

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:32pm

    yeah, google is completely innocent, what could possibly be wrong to collecting a huge database of information that is publicly available already? Why do you need any privacy, even for your personal router, you must have something to hide.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    It doesn't but...

    Then why were you rebutting the comment that radio and lasers are not the same? Do you understand how to reply to a comment and how threading works?

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    Of course since your "correction" is completely irrelevant to the story, you just come off looking like a bit of a dick...

    Nasch was pointing out a factual error in Mike's article, which makes it completely relevant, dick.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    You don't think a lawyer would take advantage of a judge's suspected lack of understanding?

    I don't think there's any evidence that's what happened. Anybody can just make stuff up. For instance, I could go around "speculating" that JMT is a compulsive masturbator, which is a perfectly reasonable possibility, but that shouldn't stop someone from questioning whether it is in fact true.

     

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  44.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    Lasers are light, and light has both the characteristics of mass and frequency. Thus, they are radio waves, just finely focused.

     

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  45.  
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    Nicedoggy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:48pm

    i read somewhere that the legal team for Google screwed things up by claiming that they used special tools because some WiFi connections couldn't be accessed without it in some form, although it was open.

    Can anybody confirm that?

     

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  46.  
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    Rich, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    It's the Wikipedia Effect. Every idiot who can refute your argument just says "citation, please."

     

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  47.  
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    Rich, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    Sorry, that should read "can't refute."

     

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  48.  
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    Nicedoggy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:52pm

    Quote:
    While Plaintiffs plead that their networks, or electronic communications systems, were configured such that the general public may join the network and readily transmit electronic communications across that network to the Internet, Plaintiffs [also] plead that the networks were themselves configured to render the data packets, or electronic communications, unreadable and inaccessible without the use of rare packet sniffing software; technology allegedly outside the purview of the general public. Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiffs plead facts sufficient to support a claim that the Wi-Fi networks were not "readily accessible to the general public."


    Source: Arstechnica: Judge to Google: sniffing even open WiFi networks may be wiretapping

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    lasers are not radio waves. both are electromagnetic radiation but radio waves refer to a specific frequency range within the spectrum.

     

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  50.  
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    Rich, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    Light has no mass, which it complete irrelevant anyways. No, light is not radio waves. Both light and radio waves are electromagnetic waves, but they are not the same. "Focusing" is also irrelevant.

     

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  51.  
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    Nicedoggy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:01pm

    Quote:
    Ware did not hand Google a complete defeat in the case. He also ruled that the consumers cannot proceed with claims that Google violated a California wiretap law because the federal wiretap law trumps all state laws. That portion of the decision could potentially affect a wide range of privacy lawsuits because many states have laws that are broader than the federal wiretap statute."


    Source: Mediapost: Google Can Be Sued For WiFi Interceptions

    That decision apparently did go in favor of Google.
    So it may be to soon to judge the impact of that as there are others things Google could still try and prevail.

     

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  52.  
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    Rich, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:02pm

    Re:

    Do you not need special tools to access any WiFi signal. You may have read about them using equipment to detect WiFi sources that didn't broadcast an SSID because normal WiFi devices will ignore those, but they *still* can detect those.

     

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  53.  
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    Nicedoggy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    Light has no invariant mass but it does have relativistic mass.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_lens
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativistic_ mass

     

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  54.  
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    Nicedoggy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: Although...

    You can also transmit data through air using soundwaves.

    I believe there was an article recently making the rounds about crickets that used sound waves to conceal their communications.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    Lasers are light, and light has both the characteristics of mass and frequency. Thus, they are radio waves, just finely focused.

    Sorry, having mass and frequency doesn't make something a "radio wave".

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    It's the Wikipedia Effect. Every idiot who can refute your argument just says "citation, please."

    OK then, you're an idiot. Can't refute that, can you?

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:54pm

    Re:

    While Plaintiffs plead ... blah blah blah ...

    The main thing that quote proves is that the judge indeed is technically ignorant, yet he doesn't let that stop him from pretending otherwise.

     

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  58.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    I thought it was an interesting side note. Feel free to ignore it if you find it irrelevant. Or go ahead and be a dick about it. ;-)

     

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  59.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:02pm

    Re:

    If you need your SSID to be private, then don't broadcast it. Problem solved.

     

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  60.  
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    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    You also have a mass and frequency. (See quantum mechanics) Are you a radio wave?

     

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  61.  
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    techinabox (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:26pm

    Hmmmm

    I had no idea that Kismet, Linux and versions of Windows above Professional were rare software. Quick let us corner the market on Ebay!

     

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  62.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    Re:

    Try Google search.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:07pm

    Google Hate

    This foolish ruling is a fine example of the irrational Google hate felt by some people. Google hate is driven forward by Google's commercial competitors (primarily Microsoft), who would find it very convenient if Google was not there.

    Everybody should be aware that the Google hate is out there. Call it out for what it is, when it shows up. Look for which Google competitor is up to what tricks. Unmask them. Point the finger back at the Google competitors.

     

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  64.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    And thus, 'mass.' You are just fine-tuning it. Thanks.

     

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  65.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    Me? Sure. I'm just static on the signal.

     

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  66.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:51pm

    Re:

    Why do you need any privacy, even for your personal router, you must have something to hide

    No one said that at all. And if you have a personal router that you don't want broadcasting your unencrypted info, turn on encryption. Pretty straightforward.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Paul, technically no. The equipment to receive the SSID is beyond just "reception of a radio signal", it requires processing. Technically, just to decode that alone would potentially be decoding of a digital signal.

    The intent of the act in question is to permit users to receive any signal that passes through their home / space and listen to it in a normal manner. The intent is to make illegal the decoding of protected or encoded signals, and that would include anything that has been made digital, even if it is not heavily encoded. Essentially, because you have to take an additional step beyond pure reception of the signal to understand what is in it, you have broken the law.

    Now, generally I don't see this applying to an open Wi-fi connection. But I could see (as is the case thing time around) where this sort of law might be applied to widespread scanning for wifi information. Clearly the data had to be at least someone "treated" to extract the SSID information (and to know it if is locked or unlocked), which appears to go against the law as written.

    It isn't a question of what is right or wrong in your mind, only how it matches up to the law as written.

     

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  68.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 12:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    Am I a laser that dreams of being a radio wave, or a radio wave that dreams of being a laser?

     

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  69.  
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    Andrew F (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 12:04am

    Actually the Judge gets it

    I disagree with the outcome, but I don't think the judge is technologically incompetent here. Judge Ware should actually be a relatively tech savvy guy by now, having ruled on quiet a few Internet-related cases in the last few years.

    Read the opinion (again). The judge acknowledges that wi-fi uses radio technology, but is arguing that Congress meant something else when they put the word "radio" into the law.

    You could disagree about what Congress meant (if anything), but I don't think the judge's interpretation is unreasonable. Radio is an ambiguous term. When the average person says "the radio is on", they probably aren't referring to a wi-fi router or mobile phone. And given that Congress is full of average people (at least in terms of technical ability), going with the technically inaccurate definition makes sense.

     

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  70.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 12:14am

    Re: Your kitchen serves food, but it's not a restaurant.

    And please, Mike, show us your data which is not based on Google's own statement that confirms you in stating that no encrypted data was collected.

    So who else would be able to show what Google collected?

     

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  71.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 12:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The equipment to receive the SSID is beyond just "reception of a radio signal", it requires processing.

    Bullshit and you know it.

     

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  72.  
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    Prisoner 201, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 12:48am

    Google

    There is no point to save anything other than the network identifiers and signal strengths to be able to use it for positioning.

    But Google did save all kinds of data going through the networks. Anything unencrypted, which can be emails, chat, file transfers or even cleartype passwords, could end up in their database. Read up on the reporting on the german complaints, and if I remember correctly also in sweden. I dont have a citation right now though.

    Anyway, it feels to me like its massive overkill to achieve the stated objective. And as always when large entities collect lots of data on people, I get suspicious.

     

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  73.  
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    Drew (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 12:51am

    A Wireless router is like a short-wave radio...

    What people like this judge do not understand is that a Wireless router is merely advanced communication between two radio devices. A related example would be two or more people using a short-wave radio to communicate without any scramble or encryption over a particular frequency, a third party would be perfectly within their legal rights to listen in on their communication. Both the short-wave radio and the Wireless router are devices that are used to interpret modulations in radio frequency to communicate with other such devices. Ergo the law as currently defined does not make distinctions between the two and thus covers both equally.

     

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  74.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 1:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Even if it was analog, it would still require some kind of processing. You couldn't transmit Techdirt's front page and read the words by looking at the waveform. So I'm skeptical of your whole claim that any requirement for processing counts as interception of an encoded signal.

     

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  75.  
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    Drew (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 1:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It just cracks me up to read your un-knowledge (yes a new word just for you.) Whether a radio signal is "digital" or "analog" does not really matter so much, either way the signal must be processed in some form. If you actually understood how your radio (short-wave or reception FM/AM only) worked you would not make such ignorant statements. Whether someone is using a short-wave radio or a wireless router they both send/receive a signal at a particular wavelength and other such terms that are a bit over your head, other components of the device then process that signal. For me to listen to someones short-wave conversation I would need a short-wave radio and they would have to send it in the clear; for me to listen to someones wireless communication I would need some wireless device and they would have to send it in the clear.

    Gee sounds like a wireless device falls pretty clearly into the same category as a short-wave radio to me, almost any appeals court is likely to come to the same conclusion.

     

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  76.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    Didn't Google collect encrypted data too?

    I don't think they did, but it's kind of a moot point, as it would still be encrypted. Unless they spent time and significant compute resources to crack it (which they didn't).

     

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  77.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 6:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    You also have a mass and frequency. (See quantum mechanics) Are you a radio wave?

    According to some quantum mechanics perspectives, the entire universe is just a collapsing waveform.

    Yes, this is entirely irrelevant to the actual topic. But fun!

     

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  78.  
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    VicMatson (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 6:38am

    This was data that was being broadcast.

    Furthermore, the only data it collected was from open WiFi networks where people were transmitting unencrypted data in the open. This was data that was being broadcast.

    Google don't do a drive-by at my house, I don't care to take the time understanding what information you're steeling and you could get shot at. Why should I?

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The intent is to make illegal the decoding of protected or encoded signals, and that would include anything that has been made digital, even if it is not heavily encoded.

    No.

     

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  80.  
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    darryl, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 7:52am

    Judge is right...

    For example, Section 2511(2)(g) makes i tlawful to intertionally intercept any radio communications that "that relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or person is distress, "

    Without reference to whether such redio communications was readily accessible to the general public and not scrmbled or encrypted.

    Should the Court interpret radio communications so broadly within the Act to include such technolgoies as wireless internet and cellular phones, this exception could lead to absurd results.


    Mike:

    The judge instead goes through some of the most convoluted reasoning imaginable to try to claim that data transmitted over WiFi is not radio communication.

    Convoluted ???

    The judge is correct, and Mike sorry to say you are wrong, if you wanted to follow your logic, then all the optic fibre cables would be "wireless" as well !!! Right !

    Also by definition, WiFi is not a "broadcast" it is a TWO direction (full duplex) communications 'link'.

    Just as is a cellular phone, they work by 'handshaking' and they both perform the task of sending and receiving. Therefore by definition it is not a 'broadcast'.

    and again No Mike, not "all forms of radio communications are "wireless"", not by a LONG shot...

     

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  81.  
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    darryl, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    your right, a digital signal is ANALOGUE when it travels through the air as radio waves, or through wires as electroncs.

    "DIGITAL" is a theoretical or man made constuct, we call 4.7volts to 5.1volts a DIGITAL LOGIC ONE

    And we call 0v to 0.6volts a digital logic zero,
    But the VOLTS themselves are analogue, and the number of electrons can vary by a large number.

    Even with that variation within limits it is still 'called' a digital 1, by convention, and within other limits it is called a ZERO, you cannot 'broadcast' or transmit 'digital', you have to convert that digital information into analog (for you US ppl) RADIO, before transmission.

    A WiFi network is a NETWORK, it is not one site acting as a 'broadcaster' with a large number of 'receivers' listening to that broadcast.

    When you enter a WiFi network you become a part (node) of that network, you sync into the spread spectrum frequency cycle and you engage in two way communications within that network.

    If you are not engaging in direct communications with the network, but are outside the network Tapping into the two way data streams that occur between the nodes of the network, you are engaging in 'wire(less) tapping', it is no different to creating a device that can listen to mobile phones or that can listen into someones wireless keyboard or mouse, or home cordless phone.

    If you are listening to someone cordless phone, you are not listening to someone who is making a 'broadcast' you are listening into a private conversation between two persons.

    That is illegal, and the judge is quite correct to make the ruling he did, and the person who appears not to understand the technology are those commenting here.

     

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  82.  
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    darryl, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Light has mass ????

    Lasers are light, and light has both the characteristics of mass and frequency. Thus, they are radio waves, just finely focused.


    Light does not have mass !!! light travels at the speed of light ! (go figure), nothing with mass can travel at the speed of light and it would require infinate energy to accelerate it to that velocity.

    If light stops travelling at the speed of light, it ceases to be light.

    As light only travels at one speed the more energy you put into a photon of light (the faster it does not go), but it's frequency increases.

    THE ONLY difference between a photon in a radio wave at 30Mhz and an X-Ray Photon (or Gamma ray) is the amount of energy that photon has acquired.

    When a photon strikes matter(an electron) in imparts that energy into that electron, giving that electron a higher energy state.

    Electroncs have mass (electron mass), because photons can change electrons there is an interaction between light and matter. (this could be the radio signal you pick up off your Wifi Antenna, to your view outside your window, the process is the same).

    That is why you can see things, and why light makes you warm, and why radio's work.

    Next time you talk to your local physist ask him if he can tell you the 'mass of a photon' ?

    You might have to wait awile until he stops laughing at you, but you'll get that.

    and yes, that relationship between the energy of a photon and it's interaction with matter (mass) is that unknown equation

    e = mc^2

    that says, that you can never put enough energy into a mass to make it go at the speed of light.

    therefore, nother with mass can travel at the speed of light, but what can travel at the speed of light (c)

    LIGHT can, and only light, if it is travelling at that speed it is light.

    Light (everything) is analog, light can be a wave or a particle (but not both) depending on how you look at it !

    (so can matter).. there is no need to cloud this simple misunderstand about Wifi and "broadcasting" with the physics of light.. but I cannot let that one go without comment :)

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    Rich, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    Can I refute your opinion? Why would I bother to waste my time?

     

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  84.  
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    EE, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Paul, technically no...

    As an electrical engineer with many years designing communications systems, I can tell you that you're wrong. Let me clear up some of your "technical" misconceptions.

    Analog and digital are just different ways of representing the same thing. In both analog and digital radio transmission information is added to the basic radio signal in some way and there are many ways of doing this which I'll not go into here. Both analog and digital radio signals usually require processing beyond the mere reception of the signal in order to extract the useful information contained within. You can take an analog signal, digitize it, and then process it in the digital domain if you wish. You can convert back and forth between the digital and analog domains and use whichever one is the most convenient. And "digital" does not mean "encrypted". Both analog and digital signals can be encrypted or not.

    Essentially, because you have to take an additional step beyond pure reception of the signal to understand what is in it, you have broken the law.

    Really? I somehow doubt that as that would outlaw listening to just about all radio signals. You'd think I would have heard of that by now.

     

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  85.  
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    just me, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: [...]

    i wonder how many replies are needed until the paragraph becomes only 1 cm wide

     

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  86.  
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    me again, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: [...]

    one more reply just for testing :)

     

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  87.  
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    Philly Bob (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 9:54am

    How can it be considered wiretapping or eavesdropping when that WiFi signal was trespassing in their computers?? Aren't THEY the victims?

     

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  88.  
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    Promet, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 11:52am

    Really though...

    ...WIFI is composed of little Intertube-WIFI-Fairy-Transmission-Widgets (IWIFIFTW), and the rate at which they fly, and whether you have left them a tooth underneath your WIFI device...

     

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  89.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Once again, Darryl shows his ignorance. I could go all through an explanation of how digital signal levels depend on the system and are not necessarily as Darryl describes them, can have more than two states, how WiFi does indeed broadcast, etc., etc. But why bother? The reason Darryl is so ignorant in the first place is probably because he is so full of himself that he won't listen.

     

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  90.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Light has mass ????

    Light does not have mass !!!

    Because if it did, it would be affected by gravity and we could see it bend around gravity fields in space. Oh, wait... Never mind that. Darryl says it has no mass and he used three exclamation points so he must be right!!!

    If light stops travelling [sic] at the speed of light, it ceases to be light.

    Light slows down when it travels through certain mediums. Never mind that either. Darryl says it doesn't so it doesn't!!!

    there is no need to cloud this simple misunderstand about Wifi and "broadcasting" with the physics of light.. but I cannot let that one go without comment :)

    Never mind those WiFi broadcast beacon signals, ethernet broadcast modes, etc. Darryl say WiFi doesn't broadcast, so it doesn't!!! Good enough for me!!!

     

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  91.  
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    Smokey Behr, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    YHGTBSM!

    My brain hurts something awful after trying to wrap my head around what the judge was thinking. If you look at page 20, line 13, he contradicts himself in the same sentence, then goes on to explain that he's contradicted himself. How can a network be accessible and inaccessible at the same time?

    I can't even try to explain the plaintiff's convoluted thinking. The WiFi was open, but the network and data were encrypted? Packet sniffers are "rare" and "out of the purview of the general public", even though I can Google up at least a dozen software and hardware companies making products that range from a cost of free to thousands of dollars?

    I guess it just goes to show you that if lawyers and judges can twist the law and language enough, they can make white into black and down into up.

     

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  92.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Judge is right...

    The judge is correct, and Mike sorry to say you are wrong, if you wanted to follow your logic, then all the optic fibre cables would be "wireless" as well !!! Right !

    Sorry, darryl, optical is not radio.

    Also by definition, WiFi is not a "broadcast" it is a TWO direction (full duplex) communications 'link'.

    WiFi supports two-way point-to-point communications, as well as one-way broadcast, multi-point and so on. So do other forms of radio.

    Darrly proves once again that just a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing in the hands of an idiot.

     

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  93.  
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    Smokey Behr, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: Your kitchen serves food, but it's not a restaurant.

    I can drive down the street with AirSnort or NetStumbler running, and I can get MAC addresses, SSID info (if broadcast), channel, and WHETHER THE SYSTEM IS ENCRYPTED OR NOT without connecting to that network or collecting a single packet of network data.

     

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  94.  
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    darryl, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 5:45pm

    Yes AC, light is not affected by gravity - space is. and time

    Light travels at one speed, time 'travels' at many different speeds (depending on gravity).

    Speed of light = constant

    Speed of time = Variable

    If constant speed light goes through variable speed time, it 'appears' (from an outside observer) that the speed of light has varied.




    Light does not have mass !!!

    Because if it did, it would be affected by gravity and we could see it bend around gravity fields in space. Oh, wait... Never mind that. Darryl says it has no mass and he used three exclamation points so he must be right!!!


    Yes, light does not have mass, it would be affected by gravity and we could see it bend around gravity fields in space !!! YES, and why... ?????

    Because it is space itself that is bent, the light is still traveling at the same speed, but it's path is longer (its not going in a straight line, but following CURVED space).

    So if you walk to the shop at 1 Mile per hour, but when you walk back (at the same speed) you take a different path that takes you longer to get home, you have not traveled at any different speed!!

    You have traveled along a longer path...

    (Gee, did not think that was THAT HARD)..

    Or if you would like to think of it another way, gravity makes time go slower, so when a photon of light passes through gravity it will travel at the same speed in a slower medium (time itself is slower, not the speed of light in that time).

    On second thought dont worry about, and DO NOT think about it, Silly me for thinking you could even begin to understand simple relitivity theory.

    Light slows down when it travels through certain mediums. Never mind that either. Darryl says it doesn't so it doesn't!!!

    The propagation of light through a medium is different from light in 'free space'.

    Then a photon of light strikes a 'medium' it will strike an electron that is orbiting a nuclius, if the photon strikes the electron it is ABSORBED by the electron.

    (THE PHOTON IS GONE, it ceases to exist when it is absorbed by the electron).

    The electron in turn gains the energy of the photon, and moves to a higher energy state.
    After a certain time (very short) that electron will 'fall back' to the lower energy level, in the process it will release a PHOTON.

    NOT THE SAME PHOTON THAT STRUCK IT, but a NEW PHOTON !!.

    This process is quick, but it does take a finite time to occur.

    So a photon strikes matter, it annialates itself into an electron, that electron gains energy (the energy of the photon that is now gone), the electron gainst mass, but is in an unstable state.

    It drops back into is correct orbit, and loses a quantum of energy (the same as it gained) and then that electron will emit a photon, and lose some mass.

    As soon as you see or detect a photon it is gone, and you cannot see a photon directly, you only see photons when they are destroyed.

    So once again,

    If a photon is not traveling at the speed of light it is not a photon.

    Photons travel at ONLY ONE SPEED, but they can travel in empty space that is not flat !.

    A single speed over a different (longer) path APPEARS to the observer to be a different speed.

    Trying to teach Einstein's theory of relativity to clueless AC's....... priceless...

    Ever been to school ? or read a book ?... ever said to yourself "how does that work?" ???

    Anything else you do not understand that I might be able to help you out with ?

    Would you like me to explain how the internet works, or how a motor car works?
    (or how to tie your shoelaces ?)

    "ethernet broadcast modes" is radio ???? just because the word 'broadcast' is used does not mean RADIO BROADCAST,

    If you run a WiFi network do you require a 'broadcasters license'????

    NO, because they are not operating as broadcasters.

    You're 50Mhz cordless phone contains a radio transmitter, so by your definition it is making a broadcast, but as there is only one intended receiver of that broadcast, (the receiver on your land line phone) it is not 'broad' it is NARROW, and specific, one to one, privite and NOT intended to be a broadcast.

    Ethernet is across wires (it is therefore not radio).

    So if you have a computer with multiple CPU's in it, and one of those CPU "broadcasts" an interrupt, then you consider that 'fair game' as well, after all it uses the word "broadcast".

    Even through strictly it is not, it is broadcast within the confines of your computer, and only to the other CPU's withing the computer.


    MIKE:





    Wireless

    by Mike Masnick

    Fri, Jul 1st 2011 12:44pm




    Filed Under:
    data, ecpa, open wifi, radio communication, street view, wifi, wireless, wiretapping

    Companies:
    google


    Permalink.


    Judge Who Doesn't Understand Technology Says WiFi Is Not A Radio Communication


    The judge understand exactly that it IS a RADIO COMMUNICATION, but he does (rightly) undstand that it is not a 'radio broadcast'.

    He understands technology apparently better than you do Mike ! he know you can have radio communication without also having radio broadcast.

    He also understands that just because it is in an analogue form (this time radio) that does not make it 'fair game' for anyone who has the required technology to easedrop on that communications.

    You computer, your keyboard, and your monitor are all 'broadcasting' signals our right now, if you have to correct equipment you can capture those signal and rebuild what you are doing on your computer.

    It's called "tempest", it is a standard way to spy on your enemies computers, governments and military spend a huge sum of money to try to reduce the tempest hazard by RF shielding and coding methods.

    Most radio transmissions are not ment as a broadcast, but are specific to a particular user.

    So again, the Judge is not arguing that it is not radio communication, he is correctly arguing that the nature of that radio communication is not for 'broadcast' purposes.

    I can see why you are not a practicing laywer Mike, you appear to have a poor grasp on standard terms and definitions.

    You do not seem to be able to differentiate between 'radio communications' and 'radio broadcast' or simply the term 'broadcast' ! this I find astounding !

    The law simply and correctly states that "just because a Radio transmitter is somewhere in the system does not make that system a 'broadcaster".

    And therefore what you transmit is not a 'free for all' because at some point the information travels on a radio signal....

    That means Mike, if you are tapping away on your computer with a wireless keyboard, I am not allowed to sit outside your house and capture what you are typing.
    (do you consider yourself 'broadcasting' to all the world with you use a wireless keyboard?)


    And you know that to be the case Mike, so why try to claim otherwise ?

    It would not be due to the fact that Google write your pay cheques !!!

    and you would rather them pay you than pay a court LOL...

    But when it comes to protecting your income, you (Mike) appear to be willing to say or do anything. Gotta keep the boss happy I guess.

    @AC

     

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    darryl, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Re: Light has mass ????

    @AC ???

    I bet you know all about TOR, and torrents, and how to get around DRM and how to get the song's and movies you want for free. That you also know all about technology and like Mike have a deep understanding of all things legal and to do with the 'net' in any way shape or form.

    But, what I find amazing is your complete lack of understanding, or interest in trying to comprehend anything to do with your very own existance, and how things actually work.

    Clearly, you have never given a second thought to what 'light' is or how it is you are able to see things.

    Or what an electron is, and how it interacts with matter, and with photons. You have probably seen the equation

    e = mc^2 many times but you have never ever given it a second thought, you most certainly probably think it only has to do with atomic bombs !

    That atomic reaction (from e=mc^2) is occuring billions of times a nanosecond inside each of your eyes !

    So what happens ?

    A photon with energy 'e' inters your eye, and strikes an electron, that electron gains mass 'm' (electrons have mass).

    So the energy of the photon is converted into mass in the electron, the electron moves to a higher energy state.

    In the eye, that higher energy state would create a 'excited molocule' that will 'transmit' (BROADCAST !!) that electron (or chemical/ion/exciton) to your brain.

    The photon being absorbed by the electron, ceases to exist.
    It is replaced by a small about of mass, that is from the energy from e=mc^2.

    There are 3 values in that equation:

    Energy, mass and 'c', Do you notice that you can change the value of e and the value of m, but you cannot change the value of c.

    the apparent change in the speed of light in different mediums is due to the medium and not the light.

    between the individual particles inside that medium light is traveling at its constant speed, if that light strikes the medium it is absorbed, (as it ceases to travel at c, if it is not traveling at c it is not light).

    It is absorbed, it is destroyed and it ceases to exist, in it's place is an excited electron that in a finite time will fall back into a stable orbit, in the process it will emit a photon A NEW PHOTON, the old one is gone and this is a new one. that takes time so it appears from an outside observer that the light itself is traveling slower.

    Because you assume (wrongly) that it is the 'same' light, which it is not. It's a new photon that simply 'looks like the old one'

    If you were the photon observing the system you would not see ANYTHING :)

    A photon travels at the speed of light (299782.458Kms/sec), at that speed time stands still.

    that means from the photons point of view time does not exist, the instant you are created you are destroyed !

    Because you experience zero time, you also experence zero distance (you cannot go 'anywhere' in zero time), so the photon also have no 'perception' of distance.

    So the photon an astronomer observes through his telescope of a start 13 billion years old, he is detecting a photon that was created the instant it is observed, even though it has arrived from a source 13 billion light years away.

    The photon's age is zero, and the distance it has traveled is zero, and if it is anything else, it is not a photon!

     

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  96.  
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    darryl, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 6:45pm

    Re: YHGTBSM!

    I can't even try to explain the plaintiff's convoluted thinking.The WiFi was open, but the network and data.......

    And then you do !!!!

    How can a network be accessible and inaccessible at the same time?

    By just how he says it is, that's how.

    He said (correctly) that the system is there to allow the public access to the internet, for the user to be 'part of the network' by establishing two way communications with the network and becoming a node of that network.

    The judge is correctly stating, that using a packet sniffing software, and 'sidelining' the network, and 'reading the data streams' is not the intent or intention of the desired purpuse for the WiFi node.

    He is also correct that packet sniffing software allthough as you stated is availble to the 'general public' it is not the perview of the general public.

    That means it is not a common thing for the 'general public' to have the technical skills or motive to do that.

    And once you do have that motive, you cease to become the 'general public'.

    These Wifi hubs are intended for the purpose of providing internet connection for the general public, or for private members of the general public.

    My brain hurts something awful after trying to wrap my head around what the judge was thinking.

    If thinking makes your brain hurt, then TD is the place to be :)

    Then again, some things are just not 'that hard' !

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 6:49pm

    Re: Yes AC, light is not affected by gravity - space is. and time

    If constant speed light goes through variable speed time, it 'appears' (from an outside observer) that the speed of light has varied.

    Oh, I see. It's not the light that has changed speed, but the rest of the world has changed in "speed time". Kind of like it's never darryl that's wrong, but the rest of the world.

    You know, it's a good thing that there's only one photon in the world too, because otherwise multiple photons might be trying to make us live at different speeds and we'd all end up in alternate universes, kind of like the one darryl lives in.

    Trying to teach Einstein's theory of relativity to clueless AC's....... priceless...

    Seeing a doofus misapply it, even better.

    "ethernet broadcast modes" is radio ???? just because the word 'broadcast' is used does not mean RADIO BROADCAST

    Of course not, it's a network mode. Thus precluding claims that " Oh, well maybe the information is broadcast on the radio but not on the on the network", or some such bull.

    If you run a WiFi network do you require a 'broadcasters license'???? NO, because they are not operating as broadcasters.

    It's not because they aren't broadcasting, it's because they're operating within limits on unlicensed spectrum. I suppose you'd try to claim that the low-power FM transmitter that I use to broadcast music around my property isn't broadcasting just because it doesn't have to be licensed. What a load.

     

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  98.  
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    darryl, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 7:09pm

    "There is no end in sight"

    sums it up perfectly,,,

    Light does not experience time, as time stands still at the speed of light, therefore light has no age, it's age is zero.

    It does not experience distance, because distance is speed times times.

    Therefore, for light..

    there is no end in sight

    (and no start)

     

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  99.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Yes AC, light is not affected by gravity - space is. and time

    The propagation of light through a medium is different from light in 'free space'.

    c0 is the maximum speed of light that occurs in free space. It is not a set speed of light through all mediums, as you seem to believe. e=mc^2 does not mean what you seem to think it does.

    Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation and is governed by Maxwell's equations. I won't go into all the vector calculus here, but the speed of light and other electromagnetic propagation is related to the electric permittivity ε and the magnetic permeability μ by the equation c = 1/√εμ. In free space, ε = ε0, μ = μ0 and thus c0 = 1/√ε0μ0. So, light does indeed slow down in materials where the electric permittivity and magnetic permeability differ from ε0 and μ0, respectively. Sorry, darryl. Maybe Maxwell's equations don't apply in your universe, but they do here. I deal with this stuff all the time.

     

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  100.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 8:14pm

    Re: Re: YHGTBSM!

    The judge is correctly stating, that using a packet sniffing software, and 'sidelining' the network, and 'reading the data streams' is not the intent or intention of the desired purpuse for the WiFi node.

    If you go out in public it may not be your intent or desired purpose to be observed doing so. Still, someone who does observe you in public has not committed a crime in doing so. (Although it seems the judge in this case and darryl might disagree with that.)

    He is also correct that packet sniffing software allthough as you stated is availble to the 'general public' it is not the perview [sic] of the general public.

    pur·view/ˈpərˌvyo͞o/Noun
    1. The scope of the influence or concerns of something.
    2. A range of experience or thought.

    So it seems that since most people have probably never posted a comment on Techdirt, it is out of the "range of experience" and thus out of the purview of the general public to do so. I guess that makes us all a bunch of evil hackers like Google! Go turn yourself in now, darryl.

    That means it is not a common thing for the 'general public' to have the technical skills or motive to do that.

    Uncommon <> illegal.

    And once you do have that motive, you cease to become the 'general public'.

    Then I doubt that anyone is in the "general public" since almost everyone has some unusual characteristic. Hey, that's it, everyone's a criminal because we're all deviants! Way to go, darryl.

    These Wifi hubs are intended for the purpose of providing internet connection for the general public, or for private members of the general public.

    WiFi is for providing *network* connectivity, it is not limited to the internet. It's even intended for use by us uncommon "deviant" individuals, not just darryl's idealized "general public".

    If thinking makes your brain hurt, then TD is the place to be :)

    Especially if you try to follow any of darryl's twisted logic.

     

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  101.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 11:10pm

    Re: Re:

    In that case you're "wiretapping" as well.

    Is that a knock on your door?

    /sarc(?)

     

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  102.  
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    k7aay (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Demigod Judges

    Horse patootie. This is only law within the Northern District of California, not the Ninth Circuit, and upon appeal, it will be airlocked.

     

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  103.  
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    JMT, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    I'm curious as to why you're arguing against this so strongly. You don't think the judge made a bad decision? You don't think that decision was based in no small part on what the lawyers argued in court? What's your point exactly?

     

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  104.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2011 @ 9:56am

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

    hey, man, don't cheeze out. If you can share information that adds to the discussion, please do. teach me something so I can understand it better.

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Demigod Judges

    Horse patootie. This is only law within the Northern District of California, not the Ninth Circuit, and upon appeal, it will be airlocked.

    The comment was "until a higher ranking judge says otherwise", which presumes "upon appeal". Try reading the entire comment.

     

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  106.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    Can I refute your opinion? Why would I bother to waste my time?

    I guess you can't.

     

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  107.  
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    darryl, Jul 3rd, 2011 @ 9:20pm

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

    ahh yes, you 'could' explain it but you are too stupid and understand if you open your mouth you will make a bigger fool of yourself.

    So you will just who everyone how silly you are..

    I can see why you would not bother to do that..

    after all there is no point in confirming your an idiot...

    "Digital signal levels" "depend on the system".

    As I said there is no such thing as 'digital' (except for the name)..

    Digital is a form of analogue, but I cannot expect you to understand that simple concept in a million years!!!!

    "So I wont even bother trying "

     

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  108.  
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    darryl, Jul 4th, 2011 @ 5:18am

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

    Once again, Darryl shows his ignorance. I could go all through an explanation of how digital signal levels depend on the system and are not necessarily as Darryl describes them,

    We'll you are 'sort of' right, yes a digital logic '1' is a different ANALOGUE VOLTAGE level if you are using TTL as opposed to CMOS, or ECL or DTL, and yes a logic '1' in your cpu might only be 2.3volts.

    Is a "volt" a "digital" value ?, no a 'volt' is an analog value, it can vary between levelsand in fractions of values.

    And "volts' are what runs around inside your computer, not "1"'s and "0"'s.

    Only an idiot who does not understand even the most basic of idea's would make the statements you made AC.

     

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  109.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 4th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    So, some attorney in this case presented false evidence purporting to show that WiFi isn't radio based and that is what the judge based his ruling on? Citation, please.

    You cite something, since you're the one who laid out that idea. I stated a fact, which is that the judge rules based on the evidence presented to him. I also stated an opinion that was pretty clearly presented as an opinion, which is that it seems to be standard procedure to purposely confuse judges.

    The point, which has gone over your head, is that the judge isn't supposed to Google or Wiki or even dead tree Britannica the term 'wi-fi'. That information should be clearly and factually presented by the attorneys, laying the groundwork for a clear ruling or a clear appeal if the judge has gone senile.

    Also? Confusing information ≠ False evidence.

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 4th, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    You cite something, since you're the one who laid out that idea.

    "What makes me sad is there isn't a system in place for the public to punish the attorneys involved for not clearly laying out the facts of the case. Remember that the judge's job isn't to know everything. The judge's job is to look at the facts placed before them and make a determination.

    I've seen attorneys purposely confuse judges on multiple occasions and, since I'm not involved in a legal profession, I'm betting that it's a standard procedure."

    Look familiar? Are you seriously trying to deny that you laid out that idea? Really?

    I also stated an opinion that was pretty clearly presented as an opinion...

    An opinion is what you think *about* something. Making up stuff about what may or may not have happened is called speculating. You were clearly speculating, even if you try to deny it. And you got called on it.

    Also? Confusing information ≠ False evidence.

    If information is false, then it's false. Whether it's also confusing has no bearing on it's veracity. Or is that "over your head"?

     

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  111.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 6:44am

    Re:

    "without the use of rare packet sniffing software"

    Security Through Obscurity? yea that's obviously a great business plan.

     

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  112.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 7:01am

    Re: Google

    Well seeming how Google didn't even know it had the data until months after collecting those "emails, chat, file transfers, or even cleartype passwords" makes me think it was in fact a mistake.

    See this Techdirt Article, and the source link in the article: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100622/0340389918.shtml

    Also this Quote from Google when this first came out:
    In 2006 an engineer working on an experimental WiFi project wrote a piece of code that sampled all categories of publicly broadcast WiFi data. A year later, when our mobile team started a project to collect basic WiFi network data like SSID information and MAC addresses using Google's Street View cars, they included that code in their software - although the project leaders did not want, and had no intention of using, payload data.


    The problem shown is that the "emails, chat, file transfers or even cleartype passwords" where embedded in the same packets as the MAC Address / SSID packets. While there is a solution, like truncating the packet down the real problem is in the wifi protocol trying to packet every packet as full as possible instead of dedicating different packets for identification and other data.

     

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  113.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    Re: Judge is right...

    Let me finish that quote for you, the Judge goes on to say:


    Should the Court interpret radio communication so broadly within the Act to include such technologies as wireless internet and cellular phones, this exception could lead to absurd results.

    Specifically, pursuant to this interpretation, an unauthorized intentional monitoring of a cellular
    phone call could be lawful should the content of the communication relate to vehicles or persons in
    distress, but unlawful otherwise


    The Judge thinks that cellphones that if he considers open WIFI as a radio communication that it will erode privacy on cellular netowrks. Which would be true, if cell networks were unencrypted... And not specifically protected by other laws like 47 CFR Part 15.37(f)

     

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  114.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Judge is right...

    That should have been "the judge thinks that if he considers open wifi as radio communication that it will erode privacy on cellular networks." I got a little ahead of myself when writing that one.

     

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  115.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 7:37am

    Re: Your kitchen serves food, but it's not a restaurant.

    The equivalent would be having the wedding reception on the sidewalk and complaining when people walk through the reception. The airwaves (for the most part) are a public space, and your network communication is occurring right in the middle of the public space. By setting up encryption would be the equivalent of hiring security or setting up barricades to get in. Using a wired network would be the equivalent of having a room reserved that you're holding the reception in (I'd have to enter private property to access anything in the reception).

     

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  116.  
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    xenomancer (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    "I guess you can't."

    Citation please?

     

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  117.  
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    xenomancer (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

     

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  118.  
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    xenomancer (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Light has mass ????

    Play nice children:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativistic_mass
    (having cake and eating it too... mmmmm, scrumptious!)

     

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  119.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    Look familiar? Are you seriously trying to deny that you laid out that idea? Really?

    I absolutely deny that I stated that the attorneys in this case, or in any case, presented false evidence to a judge. That is not shown or implied by my statements. Are you seriously trying to redefine the words that I wrote?

    Again, since you obviously didn't understand it the first time: Confusing information ≠ False evidence.

    If information is false, then it's false. Whether it's also confusing has no bearing on it's veracity. Or is that "over your head"?

    You're an idiot who has missed the point twice now. Obviously, presenting facts in a confusing way is still a way of presenting facts. I never stated nor implied that any attorney ever presented falsehoods to a judge, by way of being confusing. That's completely illogical and I have no idea how you ever arrived at that idea.

    Anyway, the part of my comment that you keep missing, is that presenting facts in a misleading and/or confusing way (which is not the same as presenting falsehoods) is damaging to our system and the people in it. I believe that it's unethical and should be punishable.

    I'm also curious as to why you're arguing about this. Do you think that the judge made a good decision, based on good evidence? Do you believe that the information submitted by the attorneys had no bearing on his decision? Or that many attorneys see no problem with confusing a judge in their favor? What, exactly, is your point?

     

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  120.  
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    anymouse (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Re: YHGTBSM!

    The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.... he will be a master of the Force.... or the next Sith lord, we're just not sure yet...

    Apparently being able to maintain two contradictory beliefs in ones head, reconcile them somewhat, and still make a bad decision is what it takes to become a judge these days.

     

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  121.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Although...

    Take what up with him? He didn't say that having mass and frequency make something a radio wave. It it did, a vibrating tuning fork would be a radio wave. You may think it is, but that's your problem.

     

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  122.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    I absolutely deny that I stated that the attorneys in this case, or in any case, presented false evidence to a judge. That is not shown or implied by my statements.

    That certainly seemed to be the idea implied. Maybe that's not what you intended, but that's how it came across.

    Are you seriously trying to redefine the words that I wrote?

    Nope. I think that's what you're doing.

    You're an idiot...

    And now yo resort to name calling. Yeah, real convincing.

    I never stated nor implied that any attorney ever presented falsehoods to a judge, by way of being confusing. That's completely illogical and I have no idea how you ever arrived at that idea.

    Once again, I refer you to your original statement.

    I'm also curious as to why you're arguing about this. Do you think that the judge made a good decision, based on good evidence? Do you believe that the information submitted by the attorneys had no bearing on his decision? Or that many attorneys see no problem with confusing a judge in their favor? What, exactly, is your point?

    I think that if you want to apologize for the judge by laying the blame off on the attorneys, then you need to present some evidence supporting that position. Speculation masquerading as opinion isn't very convincing, no matter how much name calling you add to it.

     

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  123.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    That certainly seemed to be the idea implied. Maybe that's not what you intended, but that's how it came across.

    That is certainly not how it came across to me, especially if you read it closely and think about the words used. I think you're just trolling since you still haven't answered the question about what your point really is.

     

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  124.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    That is certainly not how it came across to me, especially if you read it closely and think about the words used. I think you're just trolling since you still haven't answered the question about what your point really is.

    Sorry if I ruffled the feathers of one of your club members (not really). Did you even both to read all the way through to the end of the comment, where it answered that question, before you started spitting out your reply on your keyboard?

     

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  125.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 10:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    That certainly seemed to be the idea implied. Maybe that's not what you intended, but that's how it came across.

    Only if you're reading the magical words that are only visible to you that appeared underneath or beside what I actually wrote. This quote 'attorneys... not clearly laying out the facts of the case' is clearly me writing about laying out facts in an unclear way, not about laying out false evidence. Again, you're an idiot.

    Nope. I think that's what you're doing.

    Which word am I redefining? Fact? Unclear? Or the magical words that only you can see?

    And now yo resort to name calling. Yeah, real convincing.

    If you believe that calling you an idiot magically refutes my point, then you've proven the characterization. Thanks!

    Once again, I refer you to your original statement.

    Please do refer to it. Which part implies that I believe that anyone has ever presented false evidence to a judge?

    I think that if you want to apologize for the judge by laying the blame off on the attorneys, then you need to present some evidence supporting that position.

    I think that if you want to discuss this topic, you need to have a basic understanding of how our legal system works. Also, I presented my own experience to back my opinion. Don't like them? Refute them. Maybe you'll learn a little but about what judges and attorneys actually do in the meantime.

    Speculation masquerading as opinion isn't very convincing, no matter how much name calling you add to it.

    I wasn't attempting to convince you of anything, so what's your point again?

     

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  126.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 10:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    I didn't see where you answered that question. Please copy and paste it so we can see it again.

    Wait, did you write it in magical letters than only you can see?

     

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  127.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 11:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    I didn't see where you answered that question. Please copy and paste it so we can see it again.
    Wait, did you write it in magical letters than only you can see?


    Oh, so you can't see the letters? Really? You can't see where the question of "What, exactly, is your point" is immediate followed by the answer of "I think that if you want to apologize for the judge by laying the blame off on the attorneys, then you need to present some evidence supporting that position"? Really? Wow. Or maybe you're being more than just a little dishonest.

     

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  128.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    If you believe that calling you an idiot magically refutes my point, then you've proven the characterization. Thanks!

    More name calling. Wow, you must absolutely be right then!
    /s

     

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  129.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 6th, 2011 @ 12:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    Oh, so you can't see the letters? Really?

    No, only you can see the magical letters.

    "What, exactly, is your point" is immediate followed by the answer of "I think that if you want to apologize for the judge by laying the blame off on the attorneys, then you need to present some evidence supporting that position"?

    You originally said this: "So, some attorney in this case presented false evidence purporting to show that WiFi isn't radio based and that is what the judge based his ruling on? Citation, please."

    You're now saying that the point of accusing me of speculating about people presenting false evidence was to provoke me into providing an example of something that I didn't say?

    That's really, really hilarious. Also, I think you're just writing whatever comes to mind now.

    Really?

    Yes, you really aren't making any actual sense. Maybe you should try typing your point in real text this time. Or at least quit flailing about making yourself look worse.

    Wow.

    Yes, exactly. I mean, would it really be so hard to admit that you're in the wrong here? You could just say 'Hey, I misunderstood what you wrote and thought you were saying something about presenting false evidence, which would be a pretty serious accusation. However, I now see that you were actually writing about presenting factual evidence in an unclear way. Sorry!' and then move on.

    Or maybe you're being more than just a little dishonest.

    Dishonest about what, exactly? You can easily see what I've actually written so it would be impossible for me to be dishonest about those comments now.

     

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  130.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jul 6th, 2011 @ 12:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    More name calling. Wow, you must absolutely be right then! /s

    More actual points, using facts and logic. Wow, I am absolutely right!

    /not sarcasm

     

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  131.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 6th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knowing you don't know, is knowledge enough.

    I really think he's just giggling that you are still replying to him at this point, Rose. He'll just keep making stuff up to see what you say until he gets bored.

     

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  132.  
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    aldestrawk (profile), Jul 7th, 2011 @ 9:23am

    Re: Google Hate

    The judge laid out what was necessary as the criteria for making a decision. He knew he was dealing with a law that didn't take into account WIFI technology so he had a very careful set of steps to follow to figure out how to apply the law given there was an inherent ambiguity. He followed those steps methodically. If the decision, so far, against Google doesn't seem to follow common sense, it does follow the law. Judge Ware is practically screaming for this law to be updated so that WIFI communications can be properly put into the G1 exception.

    There is absolutely nothing in this decision that indicates a bias against Google. I don't think your argument is a red herring only because I, certainly most people here, and probably Judge Ware think that Google should not be considered to have committed wiretapping. The current law is wrong in relation to WIFI technology, however, "Google hate" is irrelevant to this case.

    My "irrational" bias against Google has to do with my experience with the Google Toolbar. I downloaded it to check it out and the disabled it because I did not want all the URL's sent out by my browser ending up in a Google database. At a later time, when I was using the Wireshark packet sniffer for something else, I noticed a lot of unexpected traffic going to an IP address within the Google range. Even though I had completely disabled the Google Toolbar via the add-on controls, it was still sending all my URLs to Google. There was nothing accidental about that. Google provides great tools but they don't come free. You are paying for them by giving up your privacy. The Google Toolbar example demonstrates that I was intentionally misled by Google so that they could continue to collect personal data concerning me. Google may consider that benign and not evil but when they are deceptive in their privacy practices I do consider that evil.

     

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

  133.  
    identicon
    Paul Brown, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 3:50am

    preparation

    Wouldn't it have made sense to interview the judge and make sure he had a strong knowledge of computers and technology before allowing him to judge such a case?

     

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

  134.  
    identicon
    regalos, Oct 2nd, 2011 @ 9:53am

    any benefit for google?

    I believe that although the wireless signals are open, that without the right to collect such data google, are networks of access to all public, so the amount of information and data may have been great, here's what's good preguntrse is whether Google did this with the intesion to make a profit or just to improve their services and applications

     

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

  135.  
    identicon
    Peter Rafferty, Oct 17th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    People's own fault...

    People may complain but it is their own fault for not encrypting either their personal or business wifi networks. I know they were collecting location data but with regards to accessing public wi fi networks how is it different from doing it with a smart phone?

     

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

  136.  
    identicon
    Andrew Reynolds, Dec 4th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Ignorant Judge

    It seems to me more and more often we have officials with no understanding or experience in a particular field dictating its policies.
    This judge is as "dumb as a box of rocks" and would probably consider an answering machine an illegal wiretap as well.

     

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


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