from the what's-the-word dept
One of the biggest stories this week was the shutdown of Kickass Torrents and the arrest of its owner, all of which we pointed out had questionable basis in actual law. That One Guy won most insightful comment of the week with the theory that this doesn't matter at all:
The fact that the charges don't line up with what's actually in the law doesn't matter really, as that would be distantly secondary at best. The purpose isn't so much to enforce the law regarding copyright infringement as to show what happens to those that annoy the USG and those buying politicians.
Site destroyed, owner arrested, message sent.
Much like MU winning the legal case would be something they'd like to be able to crow about, but they've already accomplished what they set out to do, and if all it cost them was some 'creative' interpretation of the law that's a price they're more than willing to pay.
Erdogan, American Edition?
The more interesting thing would be to see if anyone exploits the rules to distribute malware that does real harm or has other unintended consequences that causes real problems for the Chinese government. With malicious ads being increasingly common, security is one of the larger reasons people are using these things.
I mean, I wouldn't want to be the person trying to exploit the opportunity even I were that way inclined. But an extra 159+ million people being added to a pool of targets, where the entire pool is barred from defending themselves against you, must be very tempting for certain people.
Next, we head to our post about the court that has offered no remedy to someone whose vehicle was illegally searched and then subjected to civil forfeiture after drugs were found. One commenter suggested that there's no way the alternative — returning all the property — is acceptable either, but Uriel-238 questioned that premise and its assumptions:
"I don't think they should just give the drugs, or the vehicle used to transport them back.. full fucking stop."
I do. The state is way out of jurisdiction once they have conducted an illegal search, and -- how shall we say it: it imposes a substantial social cost for there to be any impetus for the police to engage in unreasonable search and seizure, since the temptation to do so is so great on its own. The police are not even trustworthy holding contraband in their evidence lockers or destroying it.
Once we allow law enforcement to gain actually profit from overreach, they're going to do so. Excessively. There are number historic examples of how this goes down.
No, the proper order in this case is for the police to return to him his belongings (including any contraband) in recognition that the state and its agents are not above law either.
The suspect should be compensated for time lost due to the police overreach and then let to go about his business
We need to stop thinking of the police as a caste with a moral high ground over the rest of us. Indeed, if anything they have clearly proven that human beings are incapable of holding that elevated level of power without corruption and indulgence. They just aren't.
The US police is supposed to operate under the principles of policing by Sir Robert Peel (at least they still teach Peelian Principles in cop school and say these are our foundational principles. The police is the people. The people are the police. It's still supposed to be that way. It's not.
Rather, our law enforcement agents are so removed from common civilians now that they regard common civilians as the enemy, they defend their own corruption openly and plainly. They prey commonly on innocent civilians as highwaymen and brigands. They act as nothing more than yet another street gang, merely one backed with state funding.
Over on the funny side, we start out with the news that the German government is suing the US government over copyright infringement by the Navy. First place for funny goes to Machin Shin, who couldn't resist the simple joy this story provides:
I saw this on another site as I wandered around the net. I still think the best part in all this is that we can now call our Navy a bunch of pirates.
Meanwhile, after Turkey blocked Wikileaks, Mason Wheeler won second place by noting the irony in the source of some of the criticism of Turkey's censorious regime:
Wait, wait... a European high court talking about censorship laws breaching the fundamental human right to information?
That's incredibly ironic. I know there's a good reason to say so, but I must have... forgotten.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we start on our post about Nick Denton joining the ranks of people fighting to defend comments on blogs and news websites. TechDescartes registered his self-invalidating disapproval, the only way he could:
You shouldn't let people comment on stories.
And finally, because every advertising algorithm is bound to cough up amusing results from time to time, Mason Wheeler spotted something fun on our post about Apple declining the invitation to be Senator McCain's punching bag:
In today's episode of Techdirt Advertising Theatre...
That's all for this week, folks!