About Leigh Beadon
Posted on Techdirt - 4 December 2013 @ 8:50am
Posted on Techdirt - 1 December 2013 @ 12:00pm
It's a short week, but we've still got plenty of great comments to highlight, so let's dive right in. In first place on the Insightful side we've got Bob with a response to the revelation that Keith Alexander offered to resign, but was refused because the White House didn't want Snowden to "win":
He didn't just win, he continues winning...
Snowden won. Period.
They should accept this, and move into the world with the rest of us where this is an undeniable fact of life.
They were doing something that the majority of people would not support, without justification or oversight.
Snowden exposed them to the world. The world got pissed. That all happened.
Continuing to live in the delusional alternate reality where Snowden is a traitor, and they are going to get to go back to business as usual is only going to drive more people away from the American tech industry.
They need to sack-up, pardon him and bring him home, initiate a national debate on the use and abuse of the programs, and start restoring our credibility as a nation committed to essential, universal, civil liberties.
In second place, we've got an anonymous comment pointing out one of the most plainly absurd flaws in the patent process:
This is what really cheeses me about the patent system. One of the requirements for patent validity is that an invention be non-obvious to one skilled in the art. Yet at no point is anyone actually skilled in the art really involved in the decision making process. Sure, they can make various filings or be expert witnesses. But the final decision still always lies with an examiner, judge, or jury that more often than not has no idea what is sitting before them.
For editor's choice, we start with a comment from Greevar, noting that when cops described a teenager they near-fatally tazed with the vague label of "aggressive" it suggests they had no concrete reason for what they did:
The use of that word makes it quite plain that the police are lying through their teeth. If that student was an actual threat to anyone, they would be able to be much more specific about what he did. "Looked ready for a fight" is a bullshit excuse, the kind of bullshit a kid would try to push on you if they wrecked the car when they didn't even have permission to take it. Are the police so immature that they make up lies as weak as a teenager would?
I think the evidence will show that the officer recklessly endangered, and possibly killed, a young man who's only crime was being brown and getting in the way of a thug with too much power that lacked the brains to use it properly.
I will never trust a cop so long as they continue to cover up the crimes they commit with impunity. No cop that breaks the law deserves to be protected. I don't care how great they are and how much they've done, police should be held to a stricter standard than most because they have been trusted with the authority and safety of their community. Power goes hand-in-hand with accountability and responsibility. If you abuse it, you deserve to be held accountable for it. If you have it, you need to use it to protect the people, not force submission. Leave your ego at home; this isn't an arena to live out your power fantasies.
Next, we've got Javarod, countering the old "if you don't have anything to hide, you have nothing to worry about" statement about privacy concerns with one of the best responses I've heard:
I have nothing to hide...
But its still my nothing, and i want to decide who gets to see it.
Over on the Funny side, we've got a dominant winner this week, with ChurchHatesTucker taking both of the top slots. First place goes to his more-sarcastic take on the news about Keith Alexander's stymied resignation:
Good thing they prevented Snowden's revelations from having any kind of impact on the NSA, AMIRITE?
And for second place, some more well-targeted sarcasm, this time directed at United Airlines for nearly killing a passenger's dog with mistreatment and trying to keep it quiet:
What possible trouble could a large faceless corporation get into by mistreating dogs and/or kittens on the internet?
For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with a comment from peter, who heard about a patent troll's attempt to discredit NewEgg's all-star roster of cryptography experts, and imagined a conversation that may well have happened:
Lawyer 1. "Hey. I've heard they got an expert witness in cryptography" Lawyer 2. "So what? Get our own expert to confuse the Jury"
Cryptography Expert Witness. " You want me to testify against WHO?"
And finally, when we pointed out that the DOJ was finally beginning to accept that Julian Assange didn't break the law, one commenter asked if anyone in the department lost their jobs for launching such a fruitless crusade against him. Pixelation knew it doesn't work that way:
Fired? This is how you fast track yourself to Senator.
That's all for this week, folks! I hope everyone had a great long weekend — we'll be back to business as usual tomorrow.
Posted on Techdirt - 29 November 2013 @ 9:00am
It's that time of year again — we've got a bunch of treats for readers who want to support Techdirt while getting some new gear and perks for the holidays. Today we're happy to make three big announcements about the Techdirt Insider Shop.
First, the shop is accepting Bitcoins! You can now use the internet's native currency for any purchase — just fill your cart as usual and select the Bitpay option at checkout.
Second, in celebration of that upgrade and as part of the Bitcoin Black Friday event happening today, we've put a bunch of items on sale. There are savings on a bunch of Insider gear, plus big discounts on our offerings for serious fans: Lunch with Mike and an awesome day with Techdirt.
Last but not least, it's time for the return of the Holiday Bundle!
This year's bundle includes a pullover hoodie, your choice of a coffee mug or water bottle, and the classic logo tee in your choice of light or dark gray. On top of that, the bundle includes a Watercooler Special: one full year of access to the Crystal Ball and the Insider Chat, plus a monthly cache of First Word/Last Word credits and an exclusive group video chat with Mike. All together this package would normally cost up to $152, but for a limited time it's available at $99!
If you're ordering gear from the Insider Shop to give as a gift, please do it soon to ensure it ships in time! Unfortunately we are unable to guarantee Christmas shipping, but orders placed by December 14th (in the US) or December 9th (internationally) should arrive on time with all shipping options. Depending on your location, there may be express shipping options available as well.
Happy holidays and happy shopping!
Posted on Techdirt - 26 November 2013 @ 10:55am
Over the past couple of months, as part of a sponsorship program with New Relic, we've been reaching out to web developers for feedback on online performance issues, and giving them a chance to win some Techdirt perks. Now, for the last entry in the series, we're opening the floor up to everyone who uses web apps and services (so... everyone!)
We've all seen the digital panic that ensues when a massive service like Gmail or Facebook goes down for even a small portion of users. Smaller versions of the same thing take place every day with services that are less widely adopted but just as important to the people who rely on them. It doesn't even take an outage to cause problems — frequent slowdowns and interruptions can quickly cause a massive productivity traffic jam. With the degree to which we live our lives and do our work online, service problems are much more than a minor inconvenience, and at the wrong moment can be a disaster.
So we want to know: how does this impact the way you use the web? Are you prepared for interruptions in the online apps and services you use most? Have you ever abandoned an app for spotty performance, or adopted one specifically for its reliability? We're looking for everything in the way of insights, anecdotes and ideas about performance issues online.
You can share your responses on the Insight Community. Remember, if you have a Techdirt account, then you're already a member and can head on over to the case page to submit your insights.
One best response chosen by New Relic and the Techdirt editorial team will receive a free one-year Watercooler subscription on Techdirt (regular price $50). The subscription includes access to the Crystal Ball and the Insider Chat, plus five monthly First Word/Last Word credits, and can be applied to your own Techdirt account or gifted to someone else.
The case will be open for four weeks, with the best response announced shortly afterwards. For developers, there's also still time to submit responses for our last question about tackling these issues as a web service provider. You can share your insight from both sides of the equation and get two chances to win.
We look forward to your insights!
Posted on Techdirt - 24 November 2013 @ 12:00pm
When the FBI stopped responding to its most prolific FOIA finder, claiming that he might start to actually learn something from all the tidbits he acquired, there was a delightful irony to the situation that we didn't note. Pointing it out netted Quinn Wilde a first place award for insight:
For today's tangible dose of irony, note that this is pretty much a straight up admission that large collections of innocuous looking data can add up to more positive information than anyone would want to give away.
Our second place comment comes from John Fenderson, responding to LG's in-vogue claim that its data collection is designed to "deliver more relevant advertisements":
Damn, I've grown to hate that bit of boilerplate. It makes it sound as if "more relevant advertisements" is a benefit to the user, when it's not.
The phrase sounded insulting to me when I first heard it, and it hasn't grown any better.
I'm not sure I agree that relevant ads aren't partially a user benefit, but we all know that's hardly the first thing on LG's mind, and the entertainment world's constant assertions that we should be thankful for what they cram down our throats (and/or what they refuse to let us access) is indeed infuriating.
For our first editor's choice, we've got a response to the government's claim that letting CIA prisoners relate their experience in court would reveal classified information. One anonymous commenter neatly reduced this argument to absurdity:
Assuming this is true and assuming the prisoners do not have a security clearance, those individuals responsible for giving the prisoners those memories - that is, the ones who tortured them - should be prosecuted for divulging classified information. To the enemy, no less.
Last up on the insightful side, we've got an anonymous commenter with a new label for companies like Paramount that attempt to scoop works like It's A Wonderful Life back out of the public domain:
Let's call them what they are. Public Domain Pirates.
Over on the funny side, we start out with the less-funny-more-disappointing news that the Beastie Boys are attempting to put a stop to a viral parody of one of their songs. Baron von Robber arrived to fight the fighting of the right to parody with a parody of Fight For Your Right:
You gotta fight...
...for your right....to paaarody!
Second place for funny goes to saulgoode, who was uncomforted by the assertion that "no sane politician" would sign the TPP:
We're not worried about sane politicians; we're worried about Congress.
(It was true 20 years ago and it's true today: mocking congress never fails.)
The first editor's choice on the funny side goes to Trails, who responded to a list of DIY airport weapons by reminding us that the TSA has already identified some unexpected threats of its own:
Let's not forget the dreaded colostomy bag, the seditious dying 95 year old with adult diaper, the nefarious post-mastectomy tissue extenders or the dreaded and insidious baby.
And finally we've got MrWilson, explaining why even if the copyright industries' claims about their economic contributions were accurate and valid (they aren't), we wouldn't necessarily care:
Doctor: "I'm sorry, the cancer is growing. The only way to stop it now would be to surgically remove it."
Patient: "Okay. When can we schedule that procedure?"
Doctor: "Oh, we can't remove it. The cancer has successfully argued that its exponential growth is proof that its further growth should be protected. You're also being sued for violating its copyright on your DNA..."
That's all for this week, folks!
Posted on Techdirt - 17 November 2013 @ 12:00pm
Lyric sites have always been among the strangest targets that copyright holders take aim at, and the NMPA's attack on RapGenius — a site full of commentary, conversation and analysis — takes things to a new and despicable level. But, as with so many condemnations by copyright holders, there's an inherent contradiction here, which our anonymous Most Insightful comment points out:
Here's a crazy idea please hear me out...
If the lyric sites are are making so much money and taking money away from the record companies and songwriters then WHY DON'T THE RECORD COMPANIES AND SONGWRITERS MAKE LYRIC SITES THEMSELVES AND PROFIT???
The void being filled is of their own making.
Of course, the industry old guard is terrified of that argument, because it applies just as well to free music and the supposed millions of dollars that they insist pirates are raking in with it.
The real thievery, as we've noted time and time again, happens when works are removed from the public domain, because then something actually is being taken away, as it was recently in the UK. That notion was contested on the grounds that these works aren't missing if you are willing to pay for them — but Karl won second place for insightful by putting that notion to bed:
If those works go out of print, then they absolutely are missing.
If some derivative work is not allowed by the copyright holder, then that work absolutely is missing.
If orchestras can't afford to perform that music now, their performances absolutely are missing.
Yes, it is "stealing." At least, closer to "stealing" than infringement is.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we'll start with one more comment from that same post, in which That One Guy points out how every unjustified extension of copyright further erodes public respect for the law:
Stuff like this is why the more people learn about copyright law, and it's history, the more they ignore it or hold it in contempt.
Retroactive copyright term extensions? The entire premise of copyright is the creator has X number of years of exclusive use of the copyright, and then it passes to the public. That's the 'deal' as it were, between the public and the creators.
To then have the deal changed, after the fact and entirely in the favor of corporations(because the second copyright duration was extended past 'life of the creator', it became crystal clear and irrefutable that the law was being written for companies, not creators), means the 'deal' was broken, and the promise of 'the creator owns it now, but after a set amount of time passes ownership moves to the public' was shown to be nothing but a lie, and broken deals, and promises based on lies, are two things that most don't care for, and certainly don't respect.
Next, we'll look at one of the reasons we constantly face such bad deals: Duke provided an excellent summary of how agreements like the TPP are used to ratchet up copyright law:
It's a fairly standard process now. Country A expands copyright law. Then they push a treaty or agreement which encourages other countries to match them. Except the treaty has room for uncertainty; enough so that, before it is in force, the countries can claim that it is compatible with their existing laws, but afterwards can be used to justify an expansion.
And so one country goes further than the others (with duration that's currently Mexico, with the longest duration - and it's pushing for some longer copyright in TPP, along with the US). And then it starts again, with that country leading the way to push their position on others.
But at each level the treaty locks things into place, so even if things go wrong, copyright can never get reduced or shortened. Even if all the countries realise they don't actually want such strong laws, they can't do anything without re-negotiating the treaty (and possibly not even then, if it has investor-state dispute resolution procedures).
Copyright always gets bigger, never smaller.
There's a good explicit example of this in the recent change to UK copyright law (covered by Techdirt here). It extends copyright in various situations, including some where it returns works that were in the public domain back into copyright. But then there is a specific section that makes it clear that even if the drafters have screwed up somewhere and made copyright shorter for some works, the old term will still apply. It's a one-way process.
Over on the funny side, we start with the return of the 'Attribution Troll' who may or may not be Shaun Shane. Amidst all the weirdness in that story, one thing is certain: we're all sick of hearing that one-line poem. An anonymous commenter took first place for funny by expressing this with a more physiologically literal reading:
IF only our tongues were made of glass, we wouldn't be alive to hear this shit.
In second place we've got a joke that I cannot myself comment on, as I have little to no knowledge of Dr. Who — but with the son of the original writer looking to cash in on the character's ongoing popularity, S. T. Stone had his own glimpse of the future:
I’d tell you how Whovians will respond to this, but…spoilers!
(I assumed their response would be to hold hands and sing, sing without Tardis, sing without Sonic Screwdrivers or Daleks — but I may be mashing up two franchises.)
For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out on our post about Nutribullet trademark trolling, where one anonymous commenter did their best impersonation of a moron in a hurry:
Holy cow! I read the word "Nutribullet" on Techdirt, got confused, and thought I was on Nutribullet's official website for a moment.
Seriously though, someone needs to fire a Nutribullet at these clowns.
And finally we've got DannyB with his take on the TSA's new barely-better-than-a-coin-flip program:
While this billion dollar program may be only slightly more accurate, at least it does not infringe upon my patent.
My patent is for a method and system for making binary decisions based on the launching of a flat round decision support device into the air and making a determination of the outcome based on which side the decision support device lands on.
I will also sell these decision support devices. A basic model for $10 is made of copper and is decorated with a picture of Lincoln on one side. A more expensive $25 model has a picture of George Washington and is constructed using superior metals.
This is a valuable patent from which I anticipate making a mint (no pun intended).
This is NOT a lame software patent. This is a patent on genuine hardware contributing a genuine advance in the important field of executive management decision making which has major applications in the areas of business, commerce, sporting events and terrorist detection.
Now if only he could secure the copyright on the Eenie Meenie poem, he'd have a near-total monopoly.
That's all for this week, folks!
Posted on Techdirt - 10 November 2013 @ 12:00pm
This week, we could easily replace "insight" with "outrage," plenty of which was generated by the shocking story of gross violations by the police in searching David Eckert. Both of this week's top voted comments were responses to that post. First up, That One Guy with some suggestions for the police:
This is a perfect example of why a growing number of people see the police force as a whole as no better(if not worse) than the criminals they are supposed to be around to deal with.
You want to repair your rep with the people, even if a bit? Start calling, vocally, loudly, and most importantly publicly for criminal charges, jail time, and immediate firing(none of that 'paid vacation/suspension' crap, the facts are abundantly clear here) of those thugs/'officers' involved.
Hide behind the infamous 'blue wall of silence, and stay silent on this case, and you do nothing more, and nothing less, than show why more and more of the public are coming to view the police force as no more than thugs with badges.
I share the feeling. I believe most readers will agree. These officers must be jailed and stripped of any authority. And the doctors should be severely punished too but I'm not sure how.
I'm guessing people would rather be stopped by muggers now than interact with the police in the US, no? I know that feeling quite well unfortunately.
For editor's choice — though it's a little unfair to give one to someone who already won — it's worth highlighting That One Guy's reply to Ninja's second place comment, thus rounding out the top three on that post:
A mugger? He can rob you, maybe rough you up a bit, and if you honestly think your life is in danger, you can fight back to protect yourself.
A cop though? He can rough you up, throw you in jail or ticket you on some trumped up charge, and if you think you're in danger and try and defend yourself you're likely to get tazed, pepper-sprayed, beaten, possibly shot, and then (assuming you survive)to add insult to injury you'll be charged with 'resisting arrest' and 'assaulting a police officer', likely leading to massive fines if not jail time.
Yeah, I'd take a mugger over a cop any day, the mugger is far less of a threat.
(And to those that inevitably will chime in with 'not all cops are like that', that's nice, but how are you supposed to know before your face eats asphalt that the cop you're dealing with is a sociopath, and what, other than hope you don't set them off somehow, are you supposed to do if the cop is a nutjob on a powertrip?)
The illustrative irony is that, if faced with a mugger, you would generally be happy if a cop turned up — but if faced with an abusive cop, you have nowhere to turn.
Protip: If you have to tell people you're the good guys, you're not the good guys.
Over on the funny side, we start out with the post about a new We The People petition demanding UK-style porn filtering on ISPs. The petition included the bizarre assertion that a Google search for "cat" turns up porn, when in fact it mostly turns up... cats. One anonymous commenter had an explanation:
Yes, but most of those cats are naked!
I misread the title and thought Apple killed off its own sales website. I assumed that Apple was so hip and exclusive that it refuses to sell its own products.
Porn is a standard feature of my ISP in the same way that milk is a standard feature of my car. I can use it to go get some.
And finally, in response to the news that trademark law may be used to get the controversial slur out of a football team's name, an anonymous commenter offered details of the story as he heard it:
I heard the Washington Redskins were contemplating a name change that would remove "Washington" from their name because it was embarrassing.
Zing! That's all for this week.
Posted on Insight Community - 7 November 2013 @ 9:50am
Posted on Techdirt - 3 November 2013 @ 12:00pm
When we criticized the high-stakes legal fight that a Canadian mining company is bringing to Costa Rica, one reader asked what we'd prefer to have seen. The point that a lawsuit is much more civilized than violent conflict resolution is a fair one — but That One Guy won most insightful comment of the week for explaining why the lesser evil is still too evil for our tastes:
I'd expect them to suck it up and act like the adults they pretend to be, not hold a country hostage with massive cash demands unless they cave into what the corporation wants, even if it means violating or ignoring their own laws.
If every court in a country says that what a company is demanding is unrealistic, or would harm those living in the countries, then tough.
If what a company demands would require the relaxing, or effective(with regards to them anyway) repeal of health and safety laws, then a court telling them to take a hike is completely justified in doing so.
You mention 'what if my retirement money depends on their profits?', well what about the retirement or safety of the people in the country being threatened? I'd say their rights take priority over yours, given you stand to lose some money, they stand to lose a lot more.
Yes suing is preferable to shooting, but even more preferable is a country being able to enforce their own health and safety laws to protect their citizens, without having to worry about some corporation throwing a childish fit anytime they get told 'No', and threatening to sue the country until they do what's being demanded of them.
Whether you think accusing the US government of fascism is valid criticism, illustrative hyperbole or unnecessary exaggeration, one thing's for sure: you can get a feel for the level of public trust by how frequently and furiously such accusations fly. When the feds casually seized a reporter's notes during an unrelated search, silverscarcat won second most insightful comment of the week with an understandably infuriated reply:
They got the information on her sources. Doesn't matter if they give back the information, they have what they wanted.
Welcome to the Fascist States of America, forget privacy, accountability and don't bother reading the Bill of Rights, our government doesn't care about that stuff and they expect you not to either.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with an anonymous comment detailing why Verizon's resistance to restoring services after Hurricane Sandy threatens to do more than just piss off customers:
This is a serious public safety issue
(I spend part of my time training first responders.)
Copper works like nothing else, and it works when everything else is down. I've made a call from the second story of a house with 8 feet of water on the first floor. I've trained people (in wilderness areas) to find a stream, find a road, find a copper line and follow it to the nearest cabin or farmhouse. It's the lifeline of last resort when the cell network is dead, the batteries are gone, and the satellite phone was lost in the fire.
Lives depend on it.
And Verizon, rather than spend the money necessary to replace what was lost in Sandy, is LYING to everyone -- their customers, the regulators, the state, the feds, everyone -- and one day, people are going to die because of those lies...because storms just like Sandy will come again.
It won't be me, because I'm no longer in the front lines (most of the time). But one of the people I've trained, one of the VOLUNTEERS who drives into the teeth of a storm, who runs toward a fire, who jumps into raging waves, who puts their ass on their line for no reason other than they think it's the right thing to do, is going to die because a call won't go through...because Verizon won't put the copper back.
Next, we head to the story of the judge who ruled against portions of NYC's stop-and-frisk program being booted from the case for supposed bias. All this politicking and power-brokering is starting to sound a bit too much like The Wire for anyone's comfort. One anonymous commenter did the simple math on the accusation and reminded us just how easy it is to make numbers sound more significant than they are:
'60 percent of her 15 written "search-and-seizure" rulings since she took the bench in 1994 had gone against law enforcement.'
6 for and 9 against shows bias? Seriously? That's only one case away from 7 vs 8, which is as even as 15 cases can get.
Are judges supposed to rule differently in every other case, just to keep the numbers exactly even?
Over on the funny side, we've got a bunch of comments from the already-funny story of Yelp users attempting to sue for wages as though they were unpaid employees. First up, we've got Chris ODonnell speculating on the birth of this nonsense:
I presume they hired their lawyer based on Yelp reviews?
In second place, we've got bob (that bob? I'm not certain) with plans for the next big class-action:
I hope they succeed, as it will give credence to my lawsuit demanding I get payed for my hard work at farmville. which will, of course, then go after govt farming subsidies.
But the real action on that post started later, when a commenter purporting to represent the plaintiffs showed up in the comments and provided a weak and astoundingly poorly-written argument for the validity of the lawsuit. One anonymous commenter offered up the perfect response, giving us our first editor's choice:
Just checking - by posting here you know you're not an unpaid Techdirt employee, don't you?
The last editor's choice is going to stay on one side of our favorite dichotomy and award an idea but not its expression. In response to the idiotic logic that the occurrence of 9/11 pre-NSA-surveillance justifies the existence of that surveillance, Trevor was reminded of a highly apt (and hilarious) scene from The Simpsons. Full marks for inspiration, but there were a few problems with the details of the "Lion-repellant stick" — so in place of the comment itself, I'll conclude this week's post by leaving you all with the actual dialogue:
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work. It's just a stupid rock. But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
Posted on Techdirt - 30 October 2013 @ 4:00am
For providers of online apps and services, great success equals great responsibility. As users come to rely on something, the consequences of it failing become dire, and the importance of maintenance and performance monitoring grows.
So Techdirt and our sponsor New Relic have a question for all the developers, entrepreneurs, technicians and others out there: how do you tackle this challenge? Not only does a growing user base make it more important to closely track the performance of a web app, it makes it more difficult too. How do you make sure your service is running smoothly? How do you identify major failures or performance issues as they happen? What are the biggest challenges therein, and what tools do you use to overcome them? We're also interested in any feedback you have on New Relic's own performance monitoring tools.
We're opening these questions up for your feedback on the Insight Community. Remember, if you have a Techdirt account, then you're already a member and can head on over to the case page to submit your insights.
In exchange for your insights, we're offering some perks. Firstly, anyone who signs up for New Relic and installs the service will receive a free Nerd Life t-shirt. The basic account is free and comes with a 14 day trial of the pro service, and there's no commitment or credit card required.
Additionally, one best response chosen by New Relic and the Techdirt editorial team will receive a free one-year Watercooler subscription on Techdirt (regular price $50). The subscription includes access to the Crystal Ball and the Insider Chat, plus five monthly First Word/Last Word credits, and can be applied to your own Techdirt account or gifted to someone else.
The case will be open for four weeks, with the best response announced shortly afterwards. We look forward to your insights!
Posted on Techdirt - 27 October 2013 @ 12:00pm
As we've been pointing out a lot lately, one of the big problems with arguments in favor of NSA surveillance (and other overbearing national security measures) is the built-in assumption that Americans are neither able nor willing to accept the consequences of true freedom, and thus must be swaddled in the child-sized version. OldMugwump snagged most insightful comment of the week by summing this up in a prefab response to scaremongers:
Not enough people in this debate are emphasizing this.
When somebody says "people will die" as a justification for curtailing liberty, the correct response is "what are you suggesting - that liberty isn't worth dying for? That those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms made the wrong choice?"
Defenders of the NSA have built a big list of "reasons" on top of that "people will die" foundation. When Dianne Feinstein enumerated these reasons in an editorial this week, Ninja won second place on the insightful side by holding a mirror up to the format:
Ok, we can play that too regarding this mass surveillance.
[x] The citizens don't approve.
[x] The Constitution doesn't allow.
[x] The world doesn't like it.
[x] It is not effective in preventing anything before happening.
[x] After it happens the citizens collective effort is what helps catching suspects and providing relief.
[x] Taxpayer money that could be used to help relief efforts or improve other areas is spent in this.
[x] There is no oversight. Or the ones responsible for it simply aren't doing their jobs.
[x] Feinstein lives in denial.
Nice, can we add more?
Though that's a great table-turning, there was an even better one this week when Michael Hayden's off-the-record call was live-tweeted by a train passenger. Our first editor's choice for insightful goes to an anonymous commenter who caught Hayden out on an admission he accidentally made after he caught on:
At least Hayden admitted one thing...“Would you like a real interview?” he asked Matzzie.So he now admits that freedom of the press protections extend to EVERYONE.
“I’m not a reporter,” Matzzie replied.
“Everybody’s a reporter,” said Hayden.
And, last up on the insightful side, we break from the NSA with Chancius discussing the gaps in perception versus reality in the music industry:
From A DIY Musician's Point of View
People need to realize that what they refer to as the "old guard" or "industry" is nothing like it used to be. The biggest problem the major labels have are being bought and owned in the past 10-15 years by conglomerates that had nothing to do with music and tried to run their new acquisitions like they do their canned soup factories. The reason why most of the music they produce is bad is because they let go of most of the experienced music veterans they had and focus their efforts towards only one demographic. They sue and try to kill off innovation because they don't really know what they are doing having no real music experience themselves. This is not about a generation of people who want something for free. This is about a generation of people who can see the transparency of the industry and their greed and don't care for it anymore. We live in a time where the customer dictates more than ever what price and how they want to pay for things and the major labels don't like not having that control anymore.
Over on the funny side, we start with the story of the Texas judge who was forced to resign after texting instructions to an assistant during a trial. Michael took one look at her vague almost-denial and won first place for funny by adding a point that she had missed:
"While I could have fought these allegations, it would have involved significant time, significant expense, and disruption to everyone involved. I did not feel that was in the best interests of the taxpayers, our court system, my family or myself"
Plus, these corrupt judges make it nearly impossible to defend yourself.
For second place, we head to the not-particularly-surprising revelations that Fox News engaged in widespread online astroturfing. As we noted, even on that very post any comments defending Fox would now be immediately suspect — so of course we're still thoroughly investigating the veracity of the anonymous defense that won second place for funny:
Fox News gave me a puppy.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we start with yet another story of a student falling victim to reactionary punishments from a school, this time over the shockingly innocuous football threat “Im boutta drill my ‘teammates’ on Monday.” Rekrul had a better idea:
They should be suspending his English teacher.
And, finally, we've got an anonymous commenter and fellow Sid Meier fan offering one place for America's great but now faltering talent to survive:
Can't wait for "powerful hypocrisy" be listed as an ability in the next Civilization game.
(Though in truth, that's kind of just a modernization of America's current ability in the franchise: Manifest Destiny.)
That's all for this week!
Posted on Techdirt - 20 October 2013 @ 12:00pm
I've always thought it was ironic that schools these days preach tolerance to kids, while at the same time enforcing zero-tolerance policies on their behaviour. This week's most insightful comment, courtesy of an anonymous commenter, sums up the problem with such policies:
Here's what I understand about "zero tolerance" - it appears to be an alternative to CRITICAL THINKING and LOGIC.
My question back to you is "if these administrators cannot be trusted to apply critical thinking and logic, then what in the fuck are they doing TEACHING OUR CHILDREN?"
Earlier this week, we asked the community for suggestions about what "lobbyists" could start calling themselves, since they apparently want a rebranding. Though we expected mostly funny responses, it turns out that one anonymous suggestion is our second most insightful comment of the week:
Government Purchasing Agent.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with a comment from Violynne, pointing out that the MPAA is being very disingenuous about legitimate TV-watching options:
The MPAA also lied about that access, as video streaming requires users to have a registered cable account to view them.
My wife tried to watch Hell on Wheels and was denied because we're on AT&T U-Verse, which (at the time she visited the site) was not an option for us.
This morning, she tried to access the site now that AT&T U-Verse is one of the "partner" options, but apparently, it must have been added recently as the option is still not available for AT&T U-Verse customers.
Sound familiar? HBO Go, Xfinity, etc... all require people to pay $150+ cable bill just to stream a show that they can't get because they don't have cable.
Nice try, MPAA. Try telling the public the truth, for once.
Next, we've got John Fenderson, who points out that even the unrealistic and exaggerated reasons offered for NSA surveillance don't actually justify it:
If all his scaremongering comes to pass, my reaction would certainly not be to embrace further intrusion by the NSA or anyone else. It would be to raise holy hell about companies and agencies placing critical systems on the internet at all.
The way it's supposed to work is this: critical systems are not on the internet. For example, systems that allow access to data such as the NYT website, are not actually reaching into the company's working database. It's using a copy devoted to the public-facing access. The idea is that even if the public-facing system is 100% compromised and destroyed, nothing of real importance has been lost as there is no way to get to internal systems from the public-facing ones, and all that was there was a copy of the data being offered up.
This has all been established best practice for longer than the internet itself has been open to the public. If a company or agency is failing to adhere to best practices, the solution isn't further encroachment on everyone's privacy, but to punish the company or agency for their idiotic practices.
Over on the funny side, we start with an anonymous comment, once again offering a new name to an existing organization. This time, it's a fresh new brand for The Independent newspaper after it published an editorial espousing trust in the government's decrees about what to report and what not to:
In second place, we've got another anonymous comment, this time offering a new way of reading Keith Alexander's claims of transparency at the NSA:
He is pretty transparent
I mean, we can see through his lies and all.
Since it's a week with a lot of rebranding and redefining going on, we'll close out the editor's choice with two more candidates. First, we've got I'm_Having_None_Of_It with another one for the newspaper:
Why are they calling themselves "The Independent" when "The Establishment" would be more appropriate?
And, finally, an anonymous commenter with an excellent option for lobbyists:
Wealth Transfer Facilitators (WTFs)
That's all for this week, folks! See you tomorrow.
Posted on Techdirt - 13 October 2013 @ 12:00pm
As is the norm these days, most of this week's comments are tackling the NSA — but for once we're starting out with a detour across the pond. Both of our most insightful comments were inspired by the London police unilaterally shutting down websites for copyright violations without due process or any court intervention whatsoever. Rikuo, anticipating a debate, took first place by attempting to lay some groundwork:
Before certain people come in and vomit their usual idiocy, be aware of these facts.
This is a police body issuing orders to parties to shut down and censor other parties all WITHOUT A COURT ORDER. Not only that, but in the case of EasyDNS, it's a BRITISH police body demanding action from a CANADIAN domain registrar to redirect a website based in SINGAPORE (I did a WHOIS search) to competing websites based in LONDON, or the police would complain to ICANN, a body based in the USA. Again, no courts involved.
Naturally this failed to head off the opposition, and an argument erupted anyway. After it was suggested, as usual, that we're just defending pirates, an anonymous commenter took second place by pointing out the glaring issue with that idea:
You know, if it's so cut and dry that all these sites are "pirate" sites, then why circumvent the court system? Surely, such a black and white issue would be a slam dunk in the court system.
Care to comment on that?
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with Sneeje, who proposed an interesting line of thinking when it comes to attempts to suppress online criticism, such as the California students who were recently suspended for posting an incriminating image of their principle:
I agree with everything you've said, Mike. What I struggle with, however is how to characterize why we're at this point.
I firmly believe this is a problem of our own cultural making. Teachers/administrators (or government employees, or police officers, or...) that make mistakes are not met with reasonable understanding that “things happen”, but an overwhelming wave of blame that usually results in someone getting fired. Yes, I realize that there are things that cannot fall into the "things happen" category, but we need to figure out how to separate them.
If this principal knew after he was overzealous in his use of force that he could acknowledge he made a mistake, the school would stand behind him and pay for reasonable medical expenses, he would have to learn from his mistake, and everyone could move on, I bet this kind of reaction would not occur. But more likely what happens is, lawsuits happen, the school disavows him and claims it was a rogue employee. This is a situation in which which people will abandon all kinds of ethical behavior to avoid.
If you (I certainly do) long for different behavior from these establishments, we need to ask whether in today’s culture, we are willing to allow mistakes and rehabilitation rather than punishment through firings and the legal system.
(Of course, that's a bit of a chicken-egg situation, since the smug evasiveness of those who land in hot water is part of what makes the public so thirsty for blood.)
Next, we've got Not an Electronic Rodent, who pointed out that the NSA's claim that it prevented "subsequent plots" after the Boston Marathon bombing isn't just meaningless — there's no real reason to believe it's even true:
Except it's impossible to prove a negative, so the best he's in fact saying is "With this massive invasion of privacy and violation of the constitution we can be reasonably sure that there's probably not any other related pieces of the plot out there... until of course we get proved wrong by something we missed in the enormous haystack."
Yeah, that's a great justification... basically, "It doesn't matter whether any of this stuff really does anything as long as we think we can convince people they are safe and we're doing something with the enormous amounts of money we spend."
Over on the funny side, this week's favorite punchline is is the NSA's data center woes. When General Alexander made the unhelpful suggestion that data be stored at a "neutral site", one anonymous commenter knew just the place:
May I suggest that a new organization; the 'Neutral Storage Agency', to be based in Utah, be charged with this assignment?
In second place we've got zem, who responded to the fires and explosions at the NSA's Utah datacenter:
liar, liar, pants on fire
is true after all
Just outside said datacenter, an activist-adopted highway was ignored by the agency with an elaborate version of no comment: "Highway adoptions are not a part of NSA’s federal mission." Our first editor's choice for funny goes to one anonymous commenter who supplied an excellent response to this:
Then leave the information superhighways alone.
And finally we'll take a break from the NSA and drop in on Maryland, where the war on cyberbullying is raging. After a particularly meddlesome organization squeezed special powers for itself out of Facebook, Michael had to applaud its excellent branding:
National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG)
Well, I have to say that is a particularly apt acronym.
Indeed. And na(a)gging becomes much more dangerous when it has the weight of the justice system behind it.
That's all for this week, folks!
Posted on Techdirt - 10 October 2013 @ 10:51am
Over on the Insight Community, we're seeking opinions and feedback from developers in the Techdirt community. New Relic, a performance monitoring platform for online services, wants your insights into the challenges of hosting for high-performance web and mobile apps.
We're running a series of these cases, and this month we're starting with an open question: what are your experiences with app hosting online? We're interested to know where, how and why various apps for web and mobile are hosted, what works and what doesn't, and what the biggest ongoing challenges are when it comes to deploying a reliable, high-performance app or service.
In exchange for your insights, we're offering some perks. Firstly, anyone who signs up for New Relic and installs the service will receive a free Nerd Life t-shirt. Additionally, one best response chosen by New Relic and the Techdirt editorial team will receive a free one-year Watercooler subscription on Techdirt (regular price $50). The subscription includes access to the Crystal Ball and the Insider Chat, plus five monthly First Word/Last Word credits, and can be applied to your own Techdirt account or gifted to someone else.
If you have a Techdirt account, then you're already a member of the Insight Community. Submit your insights this week for a chance to win!
Posted on Techdirt - 6 October 2013 @ 12:00pm
As details emerged about what happened between the feds and Lavabit, it won the operator of the email provider plenty of good will from the community, and it won the government even more antipathy. Our most insightful comment of the week comes courtesy of Scote, who questioned the government's actions from a slightly different angle:
Can the government legally force a business to commit fraud? That is what they were asking Lavabit to do, to fraudulently proclaim to provide security while, in fact, doing the opposite. Would Lavabit get that "Telco Immunity"? Or would he, as a mere email provider be subject to prosecution for lying to the public if he followed the government directive?
Meanwhile, when the transit police chief in Philadelphia acted surprised that nobody helped a cop under attack, an anonymous commenter won second most insightful comment of the week by offering him a little clarification:
Two things come to mind:
1. Police regularly say you shouldn't get involved in an altercation - that's their job. By not getting involved, all of the people were doing exactly what they had been told to do.
2. Never talk to police. Anything you say can and will be used against you. Calling 911? You're talking to police - don't do that.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, let's track back over those two stories and highlight one more comment from each. First up we've got Sunhawk with a simple but much-deserved hat-tip to Lavabit's Ladar Levinson:
Hats off to Levison; that's the kind of principle I would like to see in my email provider.
And in Philly, we've got another anonymous commenter taking an even more direct route in explaining why the cop didn't get any help:
Respect works both ways.
When law enforcement starts respecting citizens' rights, maybe citizens will start respecting law enforcement.
For the cops that think it will end in their favor, here's a hint: There's a lot more of us than there are of you.
Over on the funny side of things, first place goes to another anonymous commenter for his endorsement of the Red Cross' request for video games to start including war crimes punishment:
One thing that has always annoyed me about the so-called-realism in modern gaming, is the lack of subcommittees.
And in second place, we've got Mark Wing, pointed out that if the government still hasn't responded to the petition to pardon Snowden, its priorities are a bit messed up:
Maybe it would get an answer if the petition referenced the Death Star in some way.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got two more anonymous comments. First up is a reminder about the perils of View Source in a world with the CFAA:
"If you're using Firefox or Chrome and don't mind browsing in HTML-cluttered text, you can even use this link to navigate to the FTC site map and navigate from page to page in source-code view without triggering the redirect."
Careful - isn't that hacking nowadays?
And, last but not least, there's an important consideration about the notion that the "NSA Stores All Metadata It Collects For At Least A Year." Since the agency has redefined both "stores" and "collects", we may need some additional semantic (or cosmological) scrutiny:
Can we confirm their interpretation of "year". Which planet specifically?
That's all for this Earth-week, folks!
Posted on Techdirt - 2 October 2013 @ 10:34am
Posted on Techdirt - 29 September 2013 @ 12:00pm
When Senator Feinstein tried to redefine "surveillance" while chastising the press over its NSA coverage, there was no good way to look at it. Either she was misinformed, lying, or being disingenuous about people's real concerns. Our most insightful comment of the week comes from our own Tim Cushing, making the simple point that the government is trying to eat its cake and deny its deliciousness too:
If metadata was as limited and harmless as Feinstein and others portray it, the NSA and FBI wouldn't be fighting so hard to keep it.
Of course, here at Techdirt, we're no strangers to people trolling the press. In fact, this week's second place spot goes to MrWilson for his response to the age-old tactic of the double standard:
I love the classic responses and hypocritical tactics.
If Mike asserts something, he should prove it. If you assert something, it's just obvious and anyone questioning you is clearly a "Techdirt fanboy." It's impossible to disagree with you without being a dirty pirate criminal because only dirty pirate criminals would disagree with someone who is so clearly right that they shouldn't even be questioned.
Of course we all know you won't actually manage to prove that the harm was irreparable. If high priced lawyers for the entertainment industry can't prove it in court, how will an internet troll whose just looking for attention going to come up with a logical and legally sound argument?
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with another response to Feinstein's statements, this time from an anonymous commenter who pointed out that we'd be happy to call the "surveillance program" what it really is:
Would she prefer "Illegal Spying Program"? I'm sure most of the media would quite obligingly switch to that.
Or how about "Fourth Amendment Violating Program"? I'm sure reporters would cheerfully use that instead as well.
Perhaps "Track everyone you called, when you called them, what locations the two of you were at at the time of the call, and how long you talked with them Program"?
Next, we take a quick break from NSA stuff for another anonymous commenter's thoughts on the students who were suspended for playing with Airsoft guns at home:
They are in fact learning an important life lesson. Government functionaries have a lot of power and wield it capriciously.
Over on the funny side, first place goes to That One Guy for correcting a correction to a mistake in Rep. Mike Rogers' title:
Actually I believe it should be 'Misrepresentative Rogers' to be totally accurate.
(If that joke sounds familiar, it's because the same joke made this list less than two months ago. It's well on its way to an-oldie-but-a-goodie status.)
Second place on the funny side goes to S. T. Stone for stepping in with assistance after the Brazilian president scathingly condemned NSA surveillance:
I believe Obama may need this:
For editor's choice on the funny side, the first spot goes to Michael for admitting that you almost have to admire James Clapper's audacious manipulation of the system:
Credit where credit is due. This guy is amazing! He spies on US citizens, lies to congress about it, lies directly to the American people, ADMITS he has been spying and lying - and ends up with the independent investigators WORKING OUT OF HIS OFFICES!
He is either the king of bulllshitting, or he has some very compromising pictures of both democratic and republican leaders.
I think he should be thrown in prison, but I'm not sure if it is because he is an awful individual or that I am just jealous.
And finally, because we've got a pattern forming, we'll take another break from the NSA to visit another reactionary public school. When a 7-year-old was suspended for bringing a novelty buzzing pen to school, one anonymous commenter offered the only conceivable defense for such lunacy:
The pen is mightier than the sword... maybe they have a case here.
And since we're on the subject of swords in schools, I'll end this post with a relevant screenshot from a recent episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, because if you're like me then that's what you've been thinking of (and giggling about) since reading that comment. See you next week folks!
Posted on Techdirt - 22 September 2013 @ 12:00pm
It's always funny when people accuse demonstrators and protestors of "wanting" to cause a controversy or "knowing" they would get a bad reaction — because of course that's the case. There's not much point speaking out about anodyne, agreeable topics — demonstration is about starting a serious conversation, and serious conversations tend to get heated. When one commenter accused a California student, who was banned from handing out copies of the Constitution, of putting on a "staged" stunt that he knew would get shut down, DCX2 won most insightful comment of the week by explaining why that doesn't matter, and in fact was kind of the point:
So what if it was staged? That doesn't change anything.
The First Amendment does not say Freedom of Speech requires you to register ahead of time.
Of course, these days, a campus spat is like a vacation from the ongoing constitutional crisis of government surveillance. This week, when the DOJ openly told a reporter they were, to put it bluntly, fucking with him, John Fenderson won second place on the insightful side by giving backhanded credit where backhanded credit is due:
They are being more transparent!
After all, they're not even trying to hide their thuggishness or their complete disdain for the American people anymore.
I'm curious what the DOJ's definition of "unbiased reporting" is. I suspect it means "reporting only what we tell you to report".
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from MikeH, who picked up on a telling choice of words in Verizon's mockery of companies that pushed back against the NSA:
My favorite bit:
"I appreciate that the consumer-centric IT firms..." So by converse, Verizon is not consumer-centric. Explains so much of my interaction with this company.
And to close out the insightful side, we head over to our post about the ongoing battle over insight-and-deduction icon Sherlock Holmes. One commenter, who has made his dismissal of virtually all modern culture very clear in the past, accused creators who re-imagine old works of being "hacks" who "taint" the "source". In response, S. T. Stone provided a good breakdown of why such reuse is integral to culture:
Because that’s how culture works. We take the characteristics of a good story, character, film, song, etc. and work them into our own works, either directly or indirectly and in pieces or in whole. Fifty Shades of Grey started off as a Twilight fanfiction. Practically every modern zombie movie is spun off of the original Night of the Living Dead. We appropriate old culture and transform it into new culture in one way or another. If we had perpetual copyright, culture couldn't grow because culture would require people to create 100% original works every time they set pen to paper or strummed a guitar or picked up a camera.
Locking up culture behind a wall of control presents the most dangerous threat to culture. Copyright strangles culture. It denies us the right to grow culture and improve culture and create new culture.
That you oppose the public domain (the best resource for anyone looking to grow and create new culture) says more about how much you respect how artists work and create than anything.
As it happens, that same post is the source of our top two funniest comments of the week. In first place we've got Michael, who knew just the man to tackle the case of the immortal copyright:
If only there were a man that had such amazing deductive reasoning that he could unwind any mystery through logic. Then, we could have him examine this situation and determine if it makes any sense to continue to have these works remain locked up.
In fact, the story of that happening could make a great book! Someone should write about this character. He should have some kind of side-kick too.
And in second place, we've got another response to the aforementioned anti-culture commenter, this time coming from Colin and leaning on good old fashioned sarcasm:
I know, I hate that too! I hear a cover and them I'm all, "Shit, now that there's a cover I can't listen to the original anymore! It's been poisoned or whatever!" The fact that I can't enjoy the original because it's been completely overwritten by the new thing is awful.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we start with an anonymous commenter who could revolutionize digital information laws with his method of returning an email:
This is easy to do, just send the email back, delete your own copy, then delete the information from your brain by repeatedly banging your head against the wall.
Sometimes you just need to use your head...
And finally, we've got Trails, extrapolating from the NSA's comments about terrorists favoring Gmail:
I heard that oxygen was the preferred inhalant of terrorists. In fact, vast swathes of terrorists use oxygen directly to further bomb making, grainy video production, and training others in bomb making.
That's all for this week, folks!
Posted on Techdirt - 16 September 2013 @ 12:13pm
Posted on Techdirt - 15 September 2013 @ 12:00pm
Our most insightful comment this week comes in response to the still-too-narrow definition of journalism in the shield law that is moving forward in Congress. Pi racked up lots of votes by quoting the ultimate source:
My words can't do justice, so I'll just go with something I read once.
"Congress shall make no law respecting ... or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"
Meanwhile, on another post, there was a suggestion that the Snowden leaks have not revealed anything that wasn't already more-or-less known — after all, there has been very public concern about the NSA's technological capabilities for some time. But an anonymous commenter took second most insightful comment of the week by summing up the importance of learning the details and the extent of what's going on:
The great thing about the Snowden leaks is that you can't simply brush them off as a "mistake" or something that just happened once but will (allegedly) never happen again.
The content is so damning, so thorough and shows so many consistent violations of the most basic rights that it is impossible to ignore.
Look, we both know (or at least suspect) that proprietary software (and sometimes even open-source software...temporarily at least) can be and often is compromised. We also know how to mitigate the damage.
Now go tell a room of computer illiterates that their operating system is compromised and that they have to switch to Linux right now to protect their rights. The end result will probably be that people will basically tell you to fuck off...I should know: I've done that.
These leaks at least made people aware of the issues in a way that is impossible to ignore. So much that it even has political representatives asking questions and pressuring the NSA.
People can still choose to pretend that the problem does not exist, of course. But that's like trying to pretend that the Sun doesn't exist at this point.
Snowden has done the world a great service.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from TaCktiX highlighting the endlessly repeating pattern of events since the NSA was put in the hot seat:
How many lies and deceptions need to be uncovered?
The same pattern has emerged ever since the first leaks from Snowden (and if one includes Senator Wyden's efforts, starting even before then):
1. Leaked document exposes dirty laundry of NSA.
2. People speculate on implications of said dirty laundry.
3. NSA denies that any of those implications are true.
4. New leaked document directly contradicts NSA's denial.
5. GOTO 2, repeat.
It's the same pattern, for months running. When are people (and Congress, and the President, and the Courts, our supposed public servants) going to finally realize that the entire setup is utterly corrupt and untrustworthy? That it needs to be removed in its entirety and maybe replaced (I'm in doubt that we even need the NSA).
Next, we head back to the post about the journalist shield law, where another anonymous commenter made the case that this is a matter for the courts:
The courts need to step in here. Letting congress or the states define who's a journalist and who isn't violates the first amendment.
Here's how. The first amendment guarantees freedom of the press. But how can there be freedom of the press if the government can redefine what the press actually is at any time so that it can go after 'journalists' it doesn't like? If the government can do that, it renders the 1st amendment protections meaningless.
And yes, there HAVE been court rulings on something very similar. Courts have already ruled that the government CANNOT say what is and is not a valid religion, because that would be a way for the government to get around the 1st amendment freedom of religion.
Sure some would argue that wikileaks and the guardian/etc aren't US companies or citizens and therefore shouldn't be covered by the first amendment. But tell me, do you Really think our founding fathers would have been perfectly ok if the government jailed any foreigner it could get it's hands on for criticizing the US government in even the tiniest way, while insisting to US citizens "you have free speech, we aren't arresting any Americans who criticize us"?
Obviously such actions would have a chilling effect on free speech of US citizens to, who would fear that despite what the government says it'll lock them up to for doing the same thing they're arresting foreigners for.
Over on the funny side, we start with more thoughts on Snowden. This time, an anonymous commenter had an idea about how to recognize him for what he's done:
..Snowden deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.
Say...I hear there's this guy in DC who's not really making much use of his, maybe they could repurpose it.
In second place, we've got Michael, who is in need of paradox-absorbing crumple zones following James Clapper's admission that the debate Snowden caused is important:
I'm totally confused.
I'm pretty sure that this debate really needed to happen, but I am in a quandry because I am have been conditioned to not believe anything this guys says.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we start with yet another anonymous commenter, responding to the ridiculous claim that we've "learned enough" from the Snowden leaks and the remaining documents should be destroyed:
His logic could be applied to just about anything, like scientists developing new technology.
"Sure we've gotten a lot of benefit from scientists inventing new things, but only bad things are going to happen if we let scientists continue to study science. Any new benefits from science will be too marginal because everything good has already been invented. So we need to get rid of all the scientists and their research and development for the good of mankind".
And, last but not least, we head all the way back to last Sunday for a response to one of that week's winning comments. After justok won with the idea of using the Constitution as a public encryption key, Loki took an opposing viewpoint:
I disagree. Look how many times they've broken the Constitution already.
That's all for this week, folks!