Michael Donnelly’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Apr 7th, 2014 @ 9:37pm

    (untitled comment)

    They've taken much less contentious cases directly from district court in the past.

    If I didn't know better, I'd say the bench was afflicted by the same "do not upset the guys with the money" malaise that seems to have paralyzed the other two arms of our government.

    Oh, wait, I do know better. That's totally not it.

  • Apr 7th, 2014 @ 7:07am

    (untitled comment)

    inb4 obligatory "you can't handle the truth!" reference.

  • Mar 24th, 2014 @ 12:21pm

    (untitled comment)

    It's worth noting that the plaintiff is representing himself in this action.

    Not too surprising that he was unable to find an attorney willing to sign a complaint with that level of ignorance of the law.

  • Mar 4th, 2014 @ 10:34am

    Stop feeding the trolls.

    Guys, seriously.

    Just downvote and ignore. Otherwise, it will continue to get worse.

  • Feb 25th, 2014 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Goodlatte's Top Contributors

    Jailbreaking only opens up the operating system to user control.

    The cell radio is always a separate physical component that can remain locked while the operating system is rooted.

  • Feb 24th, 2014 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Any hacker?

    Any hacker? Actually, it's a lot more exploitable than you think. Here's what I'd do if I was actually a bad guy:

    Step 1: Have evil app on your lappie forge responses to DNS queries. Everything goes through you. Super easy.

    Step 2: Run a simple socket-level proxy on port 80 and 443. Watch traffic on any given device over port 80 until you see a user-agent go by (or just guess off the MAC address). Once you identify an Apple device, forge all SSL connections with a bogus cert. Log all headers and POST data. Maybe HTML returned from remote servers, too.

    Sit in Starbucks or Paradise Bakery for a couple hours. Go home, analyze logs, mayhem ensues.

    I could easily code this myself. The actual bad guys could certainly do it as well.

  • Feb 6th, 2014 @ 11:12am

    What, you mean like unintended consequences?

    Such as the DMCA being used as a tool to prevent people from automating a video game? ;)

    This is the true root of the evil that is DRM. It has nothing to do with being ineffective or inconvenient. It's all about creating control over something where it does not legally exist.

    In the situation with Adobe's recent announcement, the focus has been too much on the annoyance to the end-user. But looking for the control aspect, it's plain to see how Adobe can change their DRM to create a ton of new licenses. Obsoleting old devices generates a bunch of new purchases, and even existing devices that can be "upgraded" will almost certainly result in more revenue from the device maker to Adobe.

    Just rev that DRM every few years to keep the cash flowing. It all comes from the consumer indirectly, anyway.

  • Jan 31st, 2014 @ 11:08pm

    Nice headline, Mike.

    No sarcasm here. I was actually laughing out loud before reading the body of the post, since I knew what was coming.

    Comedy gold.

    Well, except the part where we're making fun of how these highly-ranked government officials live in a world devoid of consequences for their actions. But it's still a damn funny headline.

  • Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: It's the courts, not the tech.

    Of course you have less to fear from the US government's authority outside of the US. Mind you, I'm not saying that hosting something outside of the US is a panacea that somehow makes you safe from government overreaches. I'm sure there are many countries and situations, in general, where they can apply pressure.

    But security is always about doing the best possible thing, not simply discarding options because they are imperfect.

    It's kind of a question of which is worse: the enemy you know, or the enemy you don't know? What we know of the NSA and the US government is that it is an *extremely* serious enemy.

    The NSA has far more technical resources than any other country I can think of. And the US government's ability to strongarm its citizens into doing bad things in the US is among the highest I can imagine, right up there with China and North Korea. We've all seen it and to pretend otherwise is foolish.

    Given that, I'd expect anyone interested in privacy to try and get as much physical (and corporate) distance from the US. It might not be perfect, but hosting here is just fucking stupid.

  • Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 9:48am

    It's the courts, not the tech.

    Ninja is right: the primary benefit to having your data live outside the US is you escape the US government.

    The NSA itself is not the problem to be avoided for your hypothetical. It's safe to assume that the technical capabilities of the NSA are the same everywhere. It's also fairly safe to assume that the "limitations" imposed on the NSA with regards to US citizens are about as effective as a cheese grater at holding water.

    Given that you face the same technical challenges anywhere in the globe, being outside of the US is a huge, huge benefit in that you have less to fear from NSL's and court orders. Those are the tools that the government uses to bypass what technology it cannot.

  • Dec 7th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    You guys do realize that this case isn't about winning, right?

    The government and the **AA don't care at all about winning the case. They care about getting the case started so they can:

    - Shut down the website
    - Send armed men and helicopters to visit Kim
    - Try to get him extradited
    - Destroy the whole goddamn business

    They've already won. What happens now is of so little consequence that the only discussion around it should be to connect the dots.

    A lawsuit is like forcing someone to play a game of American football. They don't care about the score at the end. They care about beating the shit out of you for several hours.

  • Nov 21st, 2013 @ 1:05pm

    It's right there, silly.

    You do something the big media companies don't like, they're free to sue you. If they can't, they're free to force your country to change the laws to allow them to sue you.

    Bingo, bango, bongo.

  • Nov 20th, 2013 @ 5:06pm

    (untitled comment)

    Or another way of looking at it:

    Government: we can't release the opinion because of Shiny Distracting Object.

    Court: you failed to explain Shiny Distracting Object. You are ordered to submit a detailed explanation of Shiny Distracting Object.

    And off we go, away from PUBLISHING THE GODDAMN LAW to fighting about pointless shit. I wonder what will happen next? My money is on "anything other than publishing the goddamn law".

  • Oct 24th, 2013 @ 5:20pm

    (untitled comment)

    That's correct, Senator. There is no bulk collection of NSA-supporting politicians' names under this rally.

    (hee, hee)

  • Oct 24th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    Obvious shell game.

    Come on, Mike, how could you miss the "under this program" trick? Oh, wait, you got it. Because it's there EVERY GODDAMN TIME.

    Ahem. Moving on.

  • Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 3:00pm

    Why law enforcement doesn't want warrants.

    It's quite simple: without a warrant, a technique can be applied in bulk. There's no such thing (technically) as a "general warrant", so when a method of surveillance requires one, then it can only be used as tool once an investigation is underway.

    On the other hand, something that is "warrantless" can be applied to everyone, all the time.

    My general rule of thumb when I see a method of surveillance that does not require a warrant is to assume that it is already being used on everyone, all the time. That assumption has proven to be conclusively true many times in the last six months or so.

  • Oct 3rd, 2013 @ 10:16am

    (untitled comment)

    Govern themselves accordingly. Zing.

  • Sep 12th, 2013 @ 3:59pm

    I second the #1 pick.

    Ed Felten is a "policy wonk" by his own words. He is exactly the guy that needs to be there.

    He's also (or was a few years ago) the administrators of the wireless network in Princeton's main comp sci building. I met him in 2007 when there talking to an expert witness about the Glider case. I had to get on the wifi because my crappy first-gen iPhone couldn't get any of T-Mobile's crappy EDGE in the building.

    He said, "Did you do the GeoHot hack on that where you have to jumper the pins on the memory controller while running a program?"

    Awww, yea. My kinda guy.

  • Sep 12th, 2013 @ 12:26pm

    My comment about posting the NSL still on your mind?

    Keep in mind, I wasn't calling for outright refusal, but I still believe it must be done when the time is right.

    We don't know what the Lavabit founder got in terms of the NSL. If it is something that the government can reasonably ask for (turn over these records, answer these interrogatories) with a gag order, then I agree it would be stupid and counterproductive to post it. It seems fairly likely that there may possibly be situations where that kind of gag order might be necessary for imminent threats against the country.

    But if the NSL contains orders that a normal citizen does not believe is allowed under the Constitution, then someone must fight. I'm thinking "install this device on your network between these two servers, and don't consult an attorney, and don't talk about it" kind of level. If that is being sent to people, as we suspect it might, then it must come out.

    Maybe they are never that evil. But if they are, the only way we'll find out is when someone risks life and livelihood to protect our freedom. We'll definitely never get to the bottom of those letters from the other end of the gun through Clapper and the rest of the liars.

  • Aug 15th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    DMCA notices are not "filed".

    Minor nitpick: DMCA takedown notices are simply sent to providers and then handled by that provider however they see fit. They are not "filed" with any organization or court.

    Not that it matters particularly much to this topic, but it's the kind of subtle error that slowly builds up confusion in readers who are not law fiends.

    DMCA takedowns already contain too much implied weight on their own. There's no need for people to think they are actual pleadings.

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