Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the sex-and-crime dept

This week, three of our four top comments come in response to the ongoing FBI/Apple situation. In first place on the insightful side, it’s JD rebutting a strained attempt to claim the FBI is not technically asking for a “backdoor”:

A backdoor is a mechanism — mathematical, hardware, or software — which bypasses or disables some or all security measures.

Are you seriously arguing that because the court is only ordering Apple to remove all the security measures over which it currently has control, that it’s not a backdoor?

If an ATM manufacturer updated their terminals so it only checked the last digit of a customer’s PIN, would you claim that’s not a backdoor because an attacker still has to guess one digit? Maybe the customer picked a less-popular number like ‘6’ or ‘0’ and statistically it’ll take an attacker longer to guess because it’s not ‘7’. Good to know you wouldn’t consider that to be a backdoor.

In second place, we’ve got an anonymous commenter with a response to the defence that the FBI’s demands are “narrowly targeted”:

Smith vs. Maryland was also a narrow targeted request too and look how that decision has been used ever sense. It really doesn’t matter if you are doing this TO set the legal precedent or not. What matters is that it WILL set a legal precedent which WILL then be abused by the government regardless of whether that is why you are doing it.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ll pivot away from that story for now and on to an anonymous comment on another law enforcement topic — cops constantly “losing” important footage:

Loose footage from one camera, well shit happens.
Loose footage from two cameras, you must be incompetent.
Loose footage from three or more cameras, your criminal intentions become obvious.

Next, we pivot straight back, but this time to Apple’s new lawyer’s comment that “we can’t surrender our civil liberties and give the terrorists victory that they actually seek” — a sentiment with which Rich Kulawiec heartily agreed:

This. A thousand times this. So much of what’s happened in the last 15 years, from spying on American citizens to invading Iraq to attempts to undermine cryptography to the TSA, has been a blind, foolish, knee-jerk reaction to what is in reality a tiny threat.

It took a while for me to realize this, but the 9/11 attacks were inconsequential (except for what they taught about asymmetric warfare and our military’s incompetence). They were awful for those affected, of course, but they were NOT an existential threat to the United States: they were a pinprick. We ourselves have done ten thousand times more damage in the intervening years — despite the complete absence of any other similar attacks.

And why there haven’t been any is really no mystery: Napoleon nailed this two centuries ago: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” There’s really no need for any terrorist group to attack the United States when we’re doing such a thorough job on ourselves.

History will not treat us kindly if we manage to self-destruct in panic and fear over (almost) nothing.

Over on the funny side, our first place comment remains on the same topic, and racked up quite a few insightful votes too. Rattran suggested a government-inspired approach to complying with the FBI’s demands:

Apple just needs to apply FOIA costs math to the situation, and inform the FBI that they can start working on the code needed as soon as the FBI gives them estimated costs of $15,564,708,001.34 The code should be available to the FBI in approximately 3 years after receipt of the cash.

Then send a hard copy of the firmware on a4 paper from a dotmatrix printer with an old ribbon.

It will surprise nobody to learn that the remainder of this week’s top-voted comments on the funny side largely come from the week’s biggest joke, handed down by the comedy gods in the form of a legal threat against Techdirt from a confused lawyer (Eduardo Gomez de Diego) for a company that sells penis pumps. Ahab11 won second place for funny when he couldn’t resist making the obvious joke (but at least he admits it):

Low hanging fruit but…

it’s almost as if Eduardo is compensating for something…

For editor’s choice on the funny side, there really is no choice but to stick with that story. For one thing, we had some questions about the fact that the penis pump lawyer also seems to appear online as a penis pump doctor, but aldestrawk offered a rather excellent explanation:

You fail to recognize that Eduardo Gomez de Diego can be both an attorney and a doctor, otherwise known by the common portmanteau as an “actor”.

And finally, since even the editor’s choice must sometimes bow to the wisdom of the people… sorrykb, your wish is granted:

Andromedical wrote:

I write on behalf of the Legal Department of Andromedical, S.L. Company, as an Intellectual Property abuse report to your company. This email is part of a Counterfeit Notification to INTERPOL and must be considered as an official Cease and Desist, Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) Notification. We have detected that your website is using our trademark Andropenis? and our copyrighted images without being licensed to do so. It is illegal to use Intellectual Property (IP) without license in your website, whether or not you are selling the actual device associated to our copyrighted properties. Thus, you are infringing the law by using trademarked and copyrighted properties of Andropenis? without license and without IP rights. Please, proceed to delete immediately the following pages and the images in them from your website:

I would like to nominate Andromedical for funniest comment of the week.

That’s all for this week, folks!

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