There's something about being watched that creeps a lot of people out.
A few years back there was a bit of a scandal in a school district in the Seattle area, where the school got in trouble for allegedly posting a camera to spy on one of the teachers and her classes. The teacher (and the union, which backed her every step of the way) played up the whole "surveillance cameras are creepy" angle to the hilt, and the media ate it up. People throughout the area were understandably revolted when the story broke.
The thing is, they didn't cover the true story, not by a long shot. Here's what was actually going on:
The teacher in question had been engaged in a sexual relationship with at least one student. Apparently things weren't going well, and he wanted out. He went to the school district looking for some help.
Something happened--I'm not clear on all the details--and the district had reason to believe that there was at least one other student also being victimized. They installed a camera in the teacher's classroom, pointing at the door. It was unable to turn to look into the class, and it had no audio recording equipment, which meant there was no way of using it to spy on her classes; its purpose was to see if she was bringing students in after hours, and nothing else.
It seems to me that would have made an even better story, especially seeing as how it wasn't all that far from where the infamous Mary Kay Letourneau taught, but for whatever reason that wasn't the angle the media chose to play up. And with the district already convicted in the court of public opinion, the inevitable lawsuits ended up going in the teacher's favor, and the school was unable to bring any disciplinary action against her.
What it means to "own" a device that has been purchased is what's at stake here. The new addition to the bill puts the effort to stand up for the property rights of the owners of technology devices at risk.
This. This is why we need to not only get rid of anti-circumvention, but DRM itself. Its only purpose is to violate the fundamental property rights of a product's owner, and as such it ought to be treated as what it is--a hacking tool--and criminalized.
This. Actions speak louder than words. If the OSHA folks say that it is the companies' responsibility, but then don't actually hold them responsible when people die, what's the message that's being sent here.
I'll believe it when a few telecom executives land in prison. Until then, it's just words.
Non-sarcastically, that might actually be a good idea. If "there's a dearth of good news" is what we've come to expect from GAO reports, that means that the Government Accountability Office is every bit as mis-named as the "intelligence" agencies it's reporting on that keep doing mind-numbingly stupid things.
Any report like this should contain at least this minimal piece of good news: "and therefore, seeing as how things are a complete mess here, we, the Accountability Office, are holding the decision-makers accountable and [describe disciplinary action/firings/criminal charges being levied here]."
In the absence of any such holding-accountable, they are no Accountability Office at all, and don't serve much of any purpose as far as I can tell.
My uncle lives in the DC area. I saw him at Thanksgiving last year, and the subject of traffic cameras came up, and here's what he had to say on the subject:
You guys here [Seattle area, which according to insurance company records has some of the most civilized drivers in the country] can't even imagine how bad it is out there. Like, people going out in the middle of an intersection when the light's green but the entire block in front of them is stacked up, and if you don't do that--if you try to keep the intersection clear, like the law says--they'll honk their horns at you and then drive around you and stop in the middle of the intersection. Stupid crap like that happens all the time.
And now they're putting up these traffic cameras, and these idiot drivers are all getting mad at all the tickets they're getting. I know one guy, drives like a total maniac, and he's gotten something like 40 tickets from those cameras, and he just flips out with each one because he thinks he's not doing anything wrong.
Having recently moved from Seattle, where the drivers are generally well-behaved and civilized, even in heavy traffic, to Los Angeles, where traffic is just as bad as anything in DC as near as I can tell, I'm all for these cameras if they can hold the idiot drivers around me accountable and maybe even take a few repeat offenders off the road before they end up killing someone.
...and yet, when I suggest that the DMCA needs to be done away with, repealed in its entirety, and replaced with something that actually makes sense, what's the reaction around here? "No, we can't do that; that would get rid of the safe harbors!" Which, even though they have utterly failed to actually keep anyone safe if the bad guys want them gone, are apparently an indispensable part of the modern Internet. Just remember, this that we're seeing being abused right now, this article, this is the Safe Harbor provision in action. This is what it's really about: the DMCA takedown process, extrajudicial censorship and punishment for allegedly violating copyright law.
Got it completely wrong. A grand jury does not decide whether or not a person is guilty; a grand jury decides whether or not there is sufficient evidence to issue an indictment, to formally charge someone with a crime so the issue can proceed to trial.
A grand jury is a very different thing from a trial jury, and Tim's apparent lack of understanding on this point made this article painful to read.
ďIím not against the NSA, Iím not against spying, Iím not against looking at phone records,Ē Paul said. ďI just want you to go to a judge, have an individualís name and [get] a warrant. Thatís what the Fourth Amendment says.Ē
Oy. That actually makes sense. You know things are seriously screwed up when the libertarian nutcases are the ones talking sense...