Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the abuse-of-______ dept

This week, the Komodia/Superfish scandal got even worse. So bad, in fact, that the only appropriate response was sheer sarcasm, which Rich Kulawiec provided in our most insightful comment of the week:

Oh, come now, this isn't so bad

It's not like they did something really bad, something so destructive and damaging to the privacy and security of millions of people that it required immediate attention from federal law enforcement agencies combined with the threat of aggressive prosecution that could result in decades in prison...something like, oh, I don't know, downloading scientific research papers?

Meanwhile, when we looked at the creative abuses of wireless data caps, TheResidentSkeptic took second place for insightful by boiling it down to basics:

A different viewpoint

the most ham-fisted abuse of usage caps is simply that they exist.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we'll look at two other examples of people abusing power, the law, the market or all of the above. First up, after Total Wipes decided the word "download" meant infringement and proceeded to abuse the DMCA to take down all kinds of innocent sites, That One Guy opined on the inevitability of it all:

Natural result of a one-sided law

When a system or law has absolutely no penalty for abuse, it will be abused, and to expect anything less is foolish. Companies who file clearly bogus DMCA claims face no penalty whatsoever for doing so, even if the claims are blatantly false, yet the ones receiving them are still forced to treat them all as valid, unless they want to face harsh legal penalties.

If the DMCA was intended to be even remotely balanced, then there would be hard penalties for sending such obviously false claims, but as it stands, it's working exactly as it was intended to, completely favoring one side, at the cost of the other.

Next, though NSA director Admiral Mike Rogers said a lot of pretty worrying things about the NSA and privacy this week, Jason zeroed in on what might be the most offensive statement of them all:

Of everything said in that interview, what I personally found the most offensive was this:
“Be grateful that you live in a nation that is willing to have this kind of dialogue,” Rogers told the audience.
(from here)

We don't. We're having "this kind of dialogue"---such as it is---only because the government and intelligence community has been dragged, kicking and screaming and pronouncing the immediate doom of us all, into it.

I cycle through a lot of emotions as I keep up with all this... concern, mistrust, whatever. But comments like that make me genuinely angry.

Over on the funny side, we start out by returning to the Total Wipes story, where one anonymous commenter won first place with a different take on the whole situation:

What about me?

I have a site with a download link. Am I not important enough? Can I sue them for discrimination?

Next we head to the post about our brief Twitter exchange with revenge porn jerk/king of irony Craig Brittain, who is on a crusade against Google's supposed copyright infringement. Among the many amusing hypocrisies and general stupidities in his position, Somedumbgeek pointed out that his request for our coverage of the Perfect 10 lawsuit was among the most amusing:

So...

At the end, when he asked where he could read about it. Did it never occur to him that he could just google it?

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start by circling back to the story about wireless data caps, where orbitalinsertion gave an excellent name to the practice of letting big companies buy "sponsored data" to route around caps (and block smaller competition):

Deep Pocket Inspection.

Last but not least, we've got an anonymous commenter who has daringly taken the side of government officials demanding a magical, un-abusable backdoor key to encrypted devices. The engineers have insisted such a thing is fundamentally impossible, but clearly they were just too lazy to hammer out the code:

It's so simple

if (guy = good){
key.golden.letIn(True)
else
key.golden.letIn(False)
}

(There appear to be some syntax errors there, including the use of an assignment operator instead of a comparison one, which would make every "guy" register as "good" automatically. Which means this approach should be just about as secure as any genuine attempt would.)

That's all for this week, folks!


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  • icon
    CanadianByChoice (profile), 1 Mar 2015 @ 12:57pm

    Syntax Error

    There appear to be some syntax errors there, including the use of an assignment operator instead of a comparison one, which would make every "guy" register as "good" automatically.

    That's not an error - it's a feature. Afterall, only "good guys" would use it, right? /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      TKnarr (profile), 1 Mar 2015 @ 1:55pm

      Re: Syntax Error

      That was my immediate thought. I can see the status change entry:

      Bug: code sets "guy" to "good" unconditionally and always calls letIn() method with an argument of True.
      Status: Closed
      Reason: Working as specified.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nitpicker, 1 Mar 2015 @ 1:41pm

    Code review

    Why do booleaners always do it that way? Code is slower than needed and could result in a bad guy geting away. Here:

    key.golden.letIn(guy == good);

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2015 @ 2:05pm

      Re: Code review

      I like the longhand. It's self documenting and easy on the eyes. The curly braces, however, set my teeth on edge.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2015 @ 2:24pm

        Re: Re: Code review

        My personal preference is for the braces, or definite END statements, as it makes the code structure more definite, and resistant to finger slips deleting or inserting tabs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2015 @ 2:01pm

    (There appear to be some syntax errors there, including the use of an assignment operator instead of a comparison one, which would make every "guy" register as "good" automatically. Which means this approach should be just about as secure as any genuine attempt would.)

    Not in Rust it would!
    Also else inside if-block.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 1 Mar 2015 @ 2:07pm

      Re:

      Not in Rust it would!

      Heh yeah I figured there must be a language somewhere that uses = as a boolean condition :)

      Also else inside if-block.

      That was the other one I was thinking of, though it didn't lend itself to a joke as easily.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:52am

        Re: Re:

        Actually Rust does use == for equality, but it doesn't allow anything but boolean types to be inserted into if-conditions. So a = b would result in a compiler error

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Blackfiredragon13 (profile), 1 Mar 2015 @ 4:40pm

    Thought I was going to win this time. Damn

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 7:38am

    There's another feature missing...

    The value of the variable good isn't defined anywhere explicitly in the code such that it can be made to mean whatever they want it to mean at any time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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