The Increasing Attacks On The Most Important Law On The Internet

from the free-speech-ain't-free dept

For a few years now, there's been talk about trying to somehow roll back or change the liability protections in Section 230. As we've discussed, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is probably the most important law on the internet. It not only protects free speech, but has enabled much of the internet we know and love to exist in the first place -- and has been especially important in creating places where otherwise marginalized people are free to express themselves. The crux of the law is this single sentence:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
This seems like such a simple concept: the only one responsible for saying something should be the person who said it and not the platform that's hosting it. Duh. A decade ago, I regularly said that it almost seemed silly that we even needed Section 230 in the first place because the underlying concept is so basic and so fundamental, it struck me as ridiculous that it needed to be put into the law. Of course no online service provider should be responsible for the content posted by their users. Why would anyone think otherwise?

And yet... lots of people do think otherwise. They want to blame platforms for actions of their users all the time. Sometimes it's because it's easier to target big companies, rather than actual individuals who can either be tough to sue or difficult to find. Sometimes it's because suing companies is where the money is. And, sometimes (a lot recently, it seems), it's because suing platforms is a way to suppress forms of speech you just don't like (while ignoring the fact that it will also suppress lots of speech you do like).

Without Section 230, much of the internet you know and love would not exist. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Reddit and much, much more rely daily on Section 230. But it's not just those big companies. We here at Techdirt rely on Section 230 all the time. As I've mentioned in the past, we get threatened with lawsuits approximately once a month -- and probably 80% of those threats are due to things that people have posted in our comments. So far, none of those threats have turned into actual lawsuits -- and often it's because we've been able to point the person to Section 230.

Section 230 is the most important law on the internet. It not only protects free speech, but has made it possible for the internet as we know it to exist. As law professor David Post recently noted:
No other sentence in the U.S. Code, I would assert, has been responsible for the creation of more value than that one
And yet... it's under attack. Often by people who are well meaning, but short-sighted. They see things they don't like on the internet, and think "if only companies were liable for it, that would force that 'bad' content to go away." Like, say, revenge porn. Revenge porn is a horrible horrible thing, and we're happy that most revenge porn sites in the US have been shut down. But upending Section 230 is a horrible way of dealing with it.

A month ago, Vice published an article suggesting that it was time to overturn Section 230, relying on the absolutely horrific case of a woman who was raped, after she was preyed on by people making use of the site Model Mayhem. Again, it makes total sense to throw the guys responsible in jail for a long, long, long time. But blaming the website they used is wrong and dangerous.

That takes us to Arthur Chu, a well-known commentator on internet things who is apparently famous for being good at the TV game show Jeopardy. He published two very long and rambling articles (yes, I'm guilty of this too!), yesterday, that both seem to focus on the idea that it's really tech websites that are responsible for bad people today. The first one talks about people Chu doesn't like (frankly, I don't like most of them either) who have been able to turn infamy and trolling into profit, often by leveraging online platforms to raise or make money. And then there's the TechCrunch* article that demands we get rid of Section 230... in the name of protecting the little guy.

This is so ignorant and ill-informed as to be dangerous in its own right. Section 230 is what protects the little guy. It's why there are so many sites out there that let anyone have a platform to speak — because they know they can't get sued for whatever idiotic things you say. Ken "Popehat" White has already done a great job explaining how Chu's suggestion would be a disaster for most people but a huge windfall for lawyers, but the insanity of Chu's suggestion bears even more discussion. White explains why Chu's "let the courts and lawyers sort it out" concept is so problematic:
The court system is broken, perhaps irretrievably so. Justice may not depend entirely on how much money you have, but that is probably the most powerful factor. A lawsuit — even a frivolous one — can be utterly financially ruinous, not to mention terrifying, stressful, and health-threatening. What do I mean by financially ruinous? I mean if you are lucky as you can possibly be and hire a good lawyer who gets the suit dismissed permanently immediately, it will cost many thousands, possibly tens of thousands. If you're stuck in the suit, count on tens or hundreds of thousands.

The suggestion that this system will ease the chaos that would result from the loss of Section 230 is nothing short of lunacy.
Chu appears to think that rather than relying on Section 230, websites can instead fight it out in court. He seems to think that the judicial system is some easy way to resolve idiotic disputes from people who feel wronged. He apparently has no sense of how widely the justice system is abused these days by people who are just looking to shut people up or shut down companies they dislike -- and how removing Section 230 would only make that worse. The Popehat article details many, many, many examples where without Section 230, plenty of important speech from people would have been suppressed. Companies would be shut down and the internet would basically only be stale, boring pre-approved content -- because anything less is simply too risky.

Chu seems to toss this off cavalierly, as if he's never even considered the details of what he's saying. He claims that Section 230 "mandates special treatment for Internet service providers," but that's simply not true. It's just saying that you don't blame a platform for the speech of its users. Again, that's not "special treatment" -- it's common sense. If you hold internet providers liable for anyone who says bad stuff, they won't publish anything but the most bland crap. It takes us back to an age of "broadcast" media, where there are gatekeepers everywhere, and only a special few elite get to speak their mind. Chu, having become one of these elite, seems to find this totally acceptable.

After people started mocking his article on Twitter, Chu doubled down, saying that he was basically fine with the destruction of Section 230 taking down social media, because "it's all garbage."



That, of course, is an interesting take to be advocating on Twitter -- one of the very platforms that is, according to him, "all garbage." But, have no fear, because Arthur Chu has a solution... it's to change CDA 230 to be more like the safe harbor it's often compared to — the DMCA 512 safe harbors:
If you're a regular Techdirt reader, you're probably already groaning, because you already know how massively the DMCA's 512 safe harbor (better known as the "notice and takedown process") is frequently abused to censor perfectly legal content someone doesn't like. We write about it all the time. But to Chu that's just collateral damage, and because he's apparently totally uninformed, he doesn't think it's really that bad:

So, apparently just a "little censorship" is okay -- and when it's not okay, apparently Chu thinks that the people who will get censored under his preferred regime can just hire expensive lawyers and let the judicial system sort it out.

Chu is very confused and naive. He thinks that he's helping the oppressed, but his "solution" would do the exact opposite. First it would lead to many, many fewer places where the marginalized and the oppressed could speak freely online. It would kill off the kinds of communities that have empowered many marginalized, minority and ignored groups to get a voice and make themselves heard. And it gets the entire idea behind Section 230 backwards. While the sentence above may be the key to Section 230, there's also this part:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected;
This is a key part of Section 230 that many people don't realize exists. It says that while sites do not have to moderate, if they do it also doesn't make them liable when they don't. This is the real key. It actually creates incentives for sites to moderate the terrible behavior that Chu is so worried about, because the law says, "you can moderate freely, and that doesn't make you liable either." And it's this misunderstanding that leads Chu to get nearly every example in his article wrong.

On Twitter, Adam Steinbaugh has gone through each example that Chu cites of sites supposedly refusing to do things to stop "bad" content, all of which actually have increased moderation in response to public pressure. Chu insists that sites like Twitter and Reddit have no incentive to stop bad behavior, but both have famously cracked down on bad behavior. It may not be enough to please Chu, but to argue that both sites have not responded to public pressure is flat out false. Even worse, Chu is simply factually wrong elsewhere. He uses the infamous AutoAdmit case as one of his prime examples:
The board was notorious for being a place for trolls to gather and talk shit about people they chose to target for the explicit purpose of ruining their reputation and their lives. The admins had been specifically informed of and were well aware of the damage the abusive posts were doing, but refused to take them down, and did not cooperate at all in seeking to reveal the real identities behind the abusers’ pseudonyms.

If there had been any possibility of an “exception” in case law to the interpretation of Section 230 as a catch-all liability shield, that would have been the time. But it didn’t happen. Section 230 held firm. The admins were dropped from the suit. Afterwards the lawsuit largely fizzled thanks to it being exceedingly difficult to take someone to court when all you know about them is they posted under the handle “HitlerHitlerHitler.”
Except that's not how it played out at all. The individuals who made the questionable comments were sued, and then were actually named, after the court ordered their names to be revealed. And eventually the case settled -- rather than "fizzled." This is just factually wrong information from Chu, and TechCrunch published it. Which is a total failure.

It also seems bizarre that Chu's response to sites not stifling enough speech is to completely burn down the internet. All to get at trolls.

And yet, at the same time, Chu himself freely admits that he's trolling with this article:
When I confronted him about this, he said it's fine because he's "sincere."
But, let's look again at the first piece he published yesterday. There he attacks "trolls" like George Zimmerman and Kim Davis. Does anyone think either of them are not "sincere" in what they're doing? Personally I disagree with both (just about as much as I disagree with Chu). But, in the end, it seems that Chu's definition of speech that is okay and that which is not is simply "speech I agree with is okay -- and speech I disagree with is garbage." This issue has nothing to with sincerity. It has to do with Chu thinking he can decide what's acceptable and what's not, and if anyone gets upset about it, that's okay because the lawyers and courts can sort it out -- never mind how widely that system will itself be abused to silence speech.

There are real powerful forces that would love to kill off Section 230 and all of the important benefits it has created. They would love to move the world back into a "broadcast" mindset where gatekeepers control everything. They love the idea that internet companies and forums and people who speak out will be weighed down or destroyed by abusive lawsuits (or just legal threats). And they'll gladly pick up on having a usefully ignorant or naive "internet celebrity" who mouths off on these issues without understanding the details that he's discussing.

I doubt that this will be the last attack on Section 230, but it's in the running for the most clueless.

* I was also going to go off on the fact that this is being published by TechCrunch, which is owned by AOL, considering that the key case in Section 230 law, which helped enable the internet to exist, was a case involving AOL, but this post is already too long...

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  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 10:53am

    The true unintended consequence of section 230 is that it has left offended parties with no true legal remedy for speech against them. Section 230 has created an effective double blind, making the service providers (wide scope term there) not responsible for what is on their own sites, yet at the same time there is no equal requirement for them to know or be able to track those who do post on their sites.

    Further, sites that do have tracking information (such as IP address, confirmed email, or whatever) are loath to give that information up in court, and fight to the very end to protect the privacy of these people.

    Simply put, section 230's intent may be noble in some fashion, but it's results are often very poor, creating a legal Bermuda Triangle. Essentially, you can say anything on the internet and not be responsible for it. Yet in real life, if you said those things, you would be taken to task for them.

    The true use of section 230 should have been to protect hosting companies, transit companies, and other similar "naked" connectivity providers from being held liable. Instead, it's a wide scope protection for anyone with a website to say "hey, user submitted, not our problem" and walk away without any legal obligation to deal with the problems.

    I am not sure that it's better in the long run. Short sighted would be to look at all the money made under section 230 and letting it excuse the wide ranging abuses.

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    • icon
      ChrisB (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      Anonymous comments are the equivalent of washroom graffiti. If you found disparaging comments about you in the washroom, should you be allowed to get security camera footage and sue the person? Would you really want to, if you could?

      Anonymous comments are usually given less weight, and therefore are less damaging, than comments from reputable people. So the "harm" they cause is negligible.

      Anonymous comments are an effective way to speak truth to power, but unfortunately, they let the good in with the bad. I think we need to default to protecting the good and tolerating the bad.

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    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:03am

      The real problem is you want to blame someone else

      You don't want to get the real pirate. That would take actual work. So you're happy to get the ISP. The Web site. Anyone, really.

      So you want a gigantic internet OFF switch.

      You want a magic shutdown anything we want at any time with no legal recourse and no due process.

      But the core problem is this: pirates exist. And any past, present or yet to be invented means of communications can be used to enable and facilitate piracy -- without any knowledge of an innocent provider of the communications mechanism.

      If you propose that censors monitor all communications going through their systems, then who will bear the cost of that? Should Facebook monitor every post? Should Google monitor every email, every file attachment? What if Joe send a password protected ZIP file of a pirated mp3 by Gmail? Google cannot possibly know what is in that file attachment because they cannot open it. Do you propose to do away with file attachments?

      Or maybe you propose to do away with any form of private communication?

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      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 8:32pm

        Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

        "So you want a gigantic internet OFF switch."

        Umm, no, and a horribly bad representation of what I said.

        What I said is basically it should not be acceptable for sites to shrug their shoulders and tolerate hateful, nasty, libelous, or similar speech - and then play defense to stop anyone else from being able to deal with it.

        "If you propose that censors monitor all communications going through their systems"

        I don't. What I do suggest is that Section 230 should have an additional piece of code, which says "services are only protected if they log user activity (at minimum IP address and similar freely given information) and provide that information when requested by legal notification, summons, or similar". Basically, you get all your freedom, you get all your safe harbour for the service provider, but you also end up with a balancing level of responsibility.

        Anonymous speech is fine and wonderful. Sadly, it is abused by people who seek not freedom of expression, but rather who seek freedom from responsibility. Having service providers be a shield for this stuff is an unintended consequence of 230.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 9:12pm

          Re: Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

          I think it's funny that when someone posts insults online your first instinct is to go after the host and ISP, but when corporations mess up and ruin customer experience you insist that the only rational, reasonable solution is to go down the chain and find the person with the least authority to blame.

          The real problem is that you want the rules to apply favorably to you regardless of the effects on everyone else. The police are fine to shoot up everyone on the street just so long as it's not you. ISPs should go after anyone who is disrespectful online just so long as it's not you. No one should be allowed to be angry at someone else's speech except for you and the chicken-impersonating pinheads that relentlessly troll this site.

          Seriously, you're not fooling anyone.

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          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 11:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

            What a boatload of "I never said any of that" crap. I know people love to try to put words in other people's mouths, but you have perhaps taken top prize.

            I didn't say go after ISPs. I also did not say go after hosts. I think that both an ISP (ie, the company that gives you a connection to the internet) and a pure hosting company (ie, one who provides a server (cloud, virtual, or full)should have the full section 230 as it stands. They have absolutely no influence over the content on a given site. They are literally and clearly the pipes.

            The problem for me is that I don't think a site like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is only a host or an ISP. They are a service, this is true, but one that differs greatly from an ISP (your unfettered connection to the net) or a host (your unfettered server connected on the net). Sites which mandate how, when, and why your content will be shown, who build pages of ads, links, and promotion around your content, and who provide the means by which is can be republished and re-shared to me cross a line from "unfettered connection" pipe provider and become more of a partner.

            I would say it's even more obvious when dealing with a site that requires that you sign away your rights or grant license to them for your content in order to be on their "service". That most certainly looks like a variation on a commercial publishing deal, and not just a "dumb pipe".

            So, to put it simply: I don't think your ISP should monitor your internet traffic. I do think that an ISP should in the long run be obligated to be able to match IP address to a connection point / end user account (but yes, I know, an IP isn't always an individual user). I don't think a server hosting company who provides bare metal servers and the like should monitor your usage or content.

            I do think that a site like facebook, instagram, and the like should have the obligation to log freely provided user information in regards to use of their service (IP, browser headers, username, email used to confirm account if so used, etc), and should be obligated to provide that information when required as part of a legal process (civil or criminal) without making a big legal fuss over it.

            Why? The current combination of section 230 and obstructionist "service" providers leads to a problem where the "service" doesn't accept responsibility for what appears on their website / service, yet at the same time stands in obstruction against finding out who may have put it there. Some services go out of their way to try to avoid retaining any logging or information in this regard, just to help people avoid their legal responsibility.

            Real world parallel: Let's say you decide to put up "Mike Masnick has a dog fetish" stickers all over the valley, with links to a bestiality site. Now, we can be pretty confident that this is not true, is a lie, and would be potentially damaging to his credibility. In the course of legal action, it might be considered normal to request the video surveillance from the various establishments that had the stickers in them, looking for "common visitors" between the various places.

            Nobody is asking the shops to card and record the personal details of every visitor, but video surveillance is perfect normal for most businesses these days. When you visit a website, your browser headers give certain information that while not personally identifiable, can create a somewhat distinct profile. That information is provided every time you request something (page, graphic, whatever) and is generally logged at some level on the remote server - even if it's just in say Apache's access.log file. I don't see that information being any different from surveillance footage.

            At some point, sites which provide more than just a "dumb pipe" service need to bear at least some responsibility to keep their sites and services from becoming cesspools and legal blinds from which hateful and illegal "speech" can be lobbed like grenades.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 1:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

              And who says that people agree with them being surveilled?

              You ask anyone on the streets if they want to be surveilled or recorded what they do and expect to eat a punch straight to your face. Sadly, nobody asked them (most didn't even realize) when they made such laws allowing surveillance.

              A security camera is something that should be only for the shop to protect themselves (and the info deleted after 24 hours), not to track people over every little thing they do.

              Sorry, but even if it's for a "good cause" (hah), the means don't justify the ends. I don't want a 1984 here, and most people, neither.


              Now, regarding the sites.

              For starters, this:

              "should be obligated to provide that information when required as part of a legal process (civil or criminal) without making a big legal fuss over it."

              Actually, they should make a fuss. The same as they may have the obligation to cough up the info LEAs need, they also got an obligation towards their users (and also, towards the constitution) to protect their privacy (and not only because it says so on their privacy statements).

              Protecting privacy means making a fuss so that it's sure that the data request from their users is a valid one and not a bogus one. Because, you know, law is being abused from the other side too.

              Law enforcement should never be easy, because in the end it leads towards a police state, that supposedly, is what the US Constitution wanted to avoid.

              You need the same IRL to get someone to cough up information about someone because a crime has been committed. It's called a warrant and is issued by a judge.

              That's the job of the courts, not of the police.



              You see, all the shit you say about people taking responsibility sounds great, if ALL the people took responsibility about what they do.

              -I'm sick of seeing politicians getting away free with stealing millions from the State, that they take to Swiss and other countries' banks that make a real fuss over handing the information about their customers.
              -I'm sick of seeing companies and banks scamming their customers (and government agencies) and not getting even a decent fine, or a proper investigation over it.
              -I'm sick of seeing nothing happening to government agencies even after they just broke the constitutional rights of millions of citizens (theirs and foreign), in some cases, for economical purposes.
              -You talk about people abusing the loophole on the 230 section? Loopholes are the small print you see in a lot of contracts and services, those are real loopholes and not this. And that's when they show you the small print.
              -More about loopholes: I'm sick of seeing the police, governments and other agencies abusing the law they made (in some cases) and that they should protect and follow.

              I could post a long list of shit worse than downloading or uploading a few songs, making hateful or illegal speech. Way worse.

              That no fucking body has ever taken responsibility for that.


              And you are here, trying to get the small guys caught first instead of targeting the big ones, whose actions are worse than a million of small guys'?

              You, that are so vocal on "taking responsibility" over what people do, how about you start talking about the real criminals on governments and corporations and not about the small fries on the net?

              I've seen you complaining a lot about the latter, but on the other hand, I've yet to see you complaining about the former. That's when you are not justifying their actions outright.

              But well, when the small fries do it "is bad", but when the big guys or the governments do it, "it's needed", eh?


              Btw, the "hateful" and "illegal" speech are pretty open to interpretation.

              According to some, "illegal" speech amounts to speaking against foreign governmental policies. For others, "illegal speech" should be anything that can be a problem for their business, such as a bad review from a unsatisfied customer. Others say that you're a racist when you speak against what a country does, you got an example on Israel diplomats when they call speaking against what they do with Palestine "anti-semitism".

              You see, I'd rather keep the section 230 intact and go further. It just comes to me that it would leave open for worse mischief fiddling with it, as you see in the paragraph above.

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            • icon
              Gwiz (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 7:41am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

              At some point, sites which provide more than just a "dumb pipe" service need to bear at least some responsibility to keep their sites and services from becoming cesspools and legal blinds from which hateful and illegal "speech" can be lobbed like grenades.

              Personally, I don't think assigning more liability to websites for user content will achieve what you are aiming for. What will happen is that those sites will stop allowing user content and those commenters will move to encrypted, distributed platforms (like Freenet or the next generation of that type of platform that comes along) where locating them is even more difficult then it is now.

              The internet has, for the first time in history, allowed the average person to have a far-reaching platform for speech that doesn't require going through a gatekeeper. I don't believe human nature will allow you to stuff that genie back into it's bottle.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 9:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

              Expected the usual boatload of Whatever whining "due process is too hard", and was not disappointed.

              Anonymity is basically what's protecting you and the same trolls posting "Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced", over and over and over a-fucking-gain, then post via multiple Tor addresses to pat yourselves on the back about how you all made fun of the big mean old Mike Masnick.

              The one reason why you can't stand the idea of anonymity is because you think it should only be reserved for self-important elites like you, because everyone else is an unsophisticated, thieving plebeian. You've got your nose so far up your ass, you actually believe the shit streaming into your lungs. Go ahead and scream your usual diatribes in public. "Too bad that baby got flashbanged, but if only you chumps complied with cops more that wouldn't happen!" Maybe you'd expect to have that be welcomed with open arms, like you expect here.

              Any fool can tell you're not interested in fair play. You couldn't care less if everyone else was put under constant surveillance just so long as you're not, so you can stand atop your ivory tower and make disparaging insults about free speech being the only thing everyone else has.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 9:46pm

          Re: Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

          Yes, because that IP address can't be hidden, spoofed or any kind and all sorts of operations done to it; and have someone else life messed up because of that IP address. Also, and this said by multiple courts: 1 IP != 1 Person.

          Or worse, do it from someone else wi-fi you just hacked (after spoofing your MAC) and mess their life. That has happened plenty too.


          Also, legal summons? You mean, not with a court order but when a lawyer requests it? Sorry, but no, court orders are there to make sure that when you breach someone's rights (such as privacy or anonymity) at least the cause is a proper one.


          "Anonymous speech is fine and wonderful. Sadly, it is abused by people who seek not freedom of expression, but rather who seek freedom from responsibility. Having service providers be a shield for this stuff is an unintended consequence of 230."

          Yes, because, you know, the guys that sue others for slanderous or libelous comments don't abuse of it, no. Like when a company (not only one) sues a site where users review restaurants or services because one of their users just posted a negative review of their service.

          Maybe before you address the abuse that the small guys do (that btw, hateful and libelous speech is a small proportion of it online), you should address the abuses that the big guys do (that sadly, are quite frequent and common, comparatively), such as taking advantage of the judicial system and their almost unlimited resources to go after the small guy or the startup and sue them to death.

          Or when they use those same powers to avoid that same responsibility you're asking from internet users.


          So you see, the time courts start upholding justice and not law, particularly this loopholed, lobbied and bribed law; we may have some grounds to start speaking.


          I agree with the comment before me: it's just curious how you want normal citizens facing responsibility over what they do, but then, when a corp, politician or police does the same, you're quick on the uptake to defend them as you have shown previously.

          The ones who most abuse of the law, particularly of the loopholes, are the ones you're defending here.


          But of course, it's understandable if we assume that either someone paid you, or you're just an hypocrite, as the guy before me is implying.


          Oh, and btw, first one thing: I'm not sure about libelous, but I sure don't have a problem with nasty, hateful or similar speech. I might not like it, but I will defend their right to have such speech.

          Rings a bell? Maybe not, it's something related with democracy, something that you don't agree with, from the looks of it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:32am

          Re: Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

          "I don't. What I do suggest is that Section 230 should have an additional piece of code, which says "services are only protected if they log user activity"

          Even this clarification is absurd. There should never be a law, ever, that exists entirely to make law enforcement easier.

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        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 9:43am

          Re: Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

          What I said is basically it should not be acceptable for sites to shrug their shoulders and tolerate hateful, nasty, libelous, or similar speech - and then play defense to stop anyone else from being able to deal with it.

          And everybody with at least two neurons is saying it is not feasible. And the Constitution says it is ok to have such speech in its First Amendment.

          I don't. What I do suggest is that Section 230 should have an additional piece of code, which says "services are only protected if they log user activity (at minimum IP address and similar freely given information) and provide that information when requested by legal notification, summons, or similar". Basically, you get all your freedom, you get all your safe harbour for the service provider, but you also end up with a balancing level of responsibility.

          Oh you do. As for the logs it is already done for basic info, mostly. And even if it wasn't done, basic investigative efforts will yield a warrant and proper logs. 230 doesn't have to change for this to happen.

          Anonymous speech is fine and wonderful. Sadly, it is abused by people who seek not freedom of expression, but rather who seek freedom from responsibility. Having service providers be a shield for this stuff is an unintended consequence of 230.

          They are not a shield. If the speech is indeed ILLEGAL there are plenty of ways to deal with it.

          You haven't justified anywhere why 230 is bad in any way or blocks people from going after the goddamn individuals that are harassing them. I guess you think Ford should be sued for letting such people move around to convey their opinions elsewhere, no?

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        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 12:45pm

          Re: Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

          "Basically, you get all your freedom"

          No you don't. You lose some of it because you're now being monitored by law. In exchange, you get nothing.

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    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:05am

      Re:

      It doesn't matter whether we're talking about comments or piracy. The same logic applies.

      Should someone have to monitor all communications and postings? Who should pay for that? Why should the platform be liable for that?

      Do you propose to do away with any kind of anonymous posting or commenting?

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    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:10am

      Re:

      "are loath to give that information up in court"
      As they should be.

      I have very personal experience with this. For the "crime" of alleging the corporation engaged in fornication, my personal information was sought.
      They tried to cut corners, and slide around the actual law and because the platform stood up they had to prove they had a case. There are laws in place today that they attempted to avail themselves of, and imagine that the case wasn't real.
      The case was about censoring speech they disliked, and trying to terrify a large number of people into silence.

      At no time were they denied their rights to defend themselves, but they needed to meet a legal standard beyond 'because we said so'.

      They had the ability to get the courts to order the release of my details (and would have had to get several more orders to make it to the center of the tootsie pop).
      They did not have the right to hold those with the deepest pockets responsible for arbitrating if the claims were legitimate, because making corporations the decision makers runs counter to the law of the land.

      I don't want a platform to have to fear an open discussion because someone is allowed to sue them for things I said.

      People can (and have) be held responsible for the things they say online, but it takes a bit more effort. Even if these things are said face to face, they still need to prove it happened and show the damages but they don't get to sue the city because I happened to say these things on the cities street.

      The is nothing in the law requiring the city, in the above example, to have information on each and every person who was on the streets and might say something offensive so why is online different in your view?

      Anonymous speech is a cornerstone of America, and that protection doesn't get ripped away because someone got butthurt. They have to show actual harm before the law gets involved, just like in the real world.

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

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      Essentially, you can say anything on the internet and not be responsible for it. Yet in real life, if you said those things, you would be taken to task for them.


      Bullshit. Anonymity has always been an integral part of our society here in the US. From the founding fathers all the way up to the Supreme Court, the importance of anonymity in our society has been reiterated over and over again:
      Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. [...] It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation--and their ideas from suppression--at the hand of an intolerant society.
      McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm'n (93-986), 514 U.S. 334 (1995)
      You seem to want to remove this very important safeguard just because "it's on the internet". That's stupid and dangerous.

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    • identicon
      Carlie Coats, 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:56am

      Tracking information vs. the Constitution

      According to the US Supreme Court (McIntyre vs Ohio State Elections Commission), the right to make anonymous speech is a fundamental right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

      You seem to be insisting on doing away with this right.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 7:58pm

      Re:

      You're literally just wrong.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 8:39pm

      Re:

      Not that there aren't similar laws in other areas, eh?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_secrecy

      And those sure put a harder fight than some ISPs. And for issues way worse than a slanderous comment or a song being uploaded on a cyberlocker, such as taking (yeah, stealing) 50,000,000 € under a scheme that might have stolen 30,000,0000,000 € from a country.


      Buddy, you always balk about self responsibility from the normal citizen over the stuff they do on the net, but I've yet to see you talking about self responsibility of the corrupt politicians or lobbying corporations (lattest example, Volkswagen and their engines, but there are plenty of those) for the things they do.

      You know, and this coming from other of your comments... maybe, before checking about GTA and other videogames or media, you should see if people get influenced over the fact that they see someone stealing and keeping all that money (enough to stop working for the rest of your life) and how their political leaders and the police are in cahoots with them, like when a PC full of information suddenly gets destroyed "by mistake".

      And if by any chance they go to the jail (not for a long time), it's strange how they live better than your normal citizen out of it: such as having luxury dinners, preferential treatment and other perks that only money can buy.

      You see, maybe, before you focus on the small guys, you should start checking the big ones. You know, some of those big ones are people who are supposed to be the example we follow (such as leaders or people that should be respected).

      It's strange how those who make the laws are the ones that break them the most.

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    • identicon
      cpt kangarooski, 30 Sep 2015 @ 9:26pm

      Re:

      section 230's intent may be noble in some fashion

      No it isn't. The CDA was meant to get rid of online porn. The purpose of section 230 was that prior to its passage, an ISP that took an active hand in censoring online activity would be treated as responsible for any activity it didn't censor, even if the lack of censorship was due to an oversight. Failure to act was the best protection from liability for the ISP at that time. The purpose of section 230 was to encourage ISPs to engage in censorship, knowing that if they didn't do a perfect job of it, their actions would not have led to increased liability, as had previously been the case.

      The parts of the CDA mandating censorship were overturned as unconstitutional many years ago. The limit on ISP liability happens not to violate the First Amendment, so it stayed in place.

      The true unintended consequence of section 230 is that it has left offended parties with no true legal remedy for speech against them.

      Sure they have; they can sue the party who originated the speech for libel, just as they always could.

      yet at the same time there is no equal requirement for them to know or be able to track those who do post on their sites

      Prohibitions on anonymous speech also violate the First Amendment; there cannot be a requirement for ISPs to identify or track their users. To require such a thing would be illegal.

      Essentially, you can say anything on the internet and not be responsible for it. Yet in real life, if you said those things, you would be taken to task for them.

      Actually there is no difference whatsoever. The CDA is only useful for protecting the ISP, an intermediary which takes no action. Suing a website because someone said something defamatory on it is as stupid as suing the telephone company because someone said something defamatory over the phone, or suing Bic because someone wrote something defamatory with a ballpoint pen. It doesn't protect the actual tortfeasor, however.

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      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 11:18pm

        Re: Re:

        "Actually there is no difference whatsoever. The CDA is only useful for protecting the ISP, an intermediary which takes no action. Suing a website because someone said something defamatory on it is as stupid as suing the telephone company because someone said something defamatory over the phone, or suing Bic because someone wrote something defamatory with a ballpoint pen. It doesn't protect the actual tortfeasor, however."

        The problem is an ISP really is the company that provides your home (or business) internet connection, not one who provides a website and incorporates your contributions into their selected format and presentation.

        These companies are not "dumb pipes" similar to a phone company. They are the printed newspaper, not the people selling newsprint. They are the information system you reach by calling them on the phone, not the phone company. Nobody is suggesting "sue your ISP".

        The biggest issue of the discussion is that section 230 is TOO inclusive, and almost everything online has been stuffed under that tent. All they need is a "user contributed" or "we just host your stuff" claim, and boom, they are section 230 exempt, even if they set the format, define the methods, and even require that you assign them copyright over your "content" to be on their service. They choose how you are seen, how you are distributed, what ads and content appear around your "content", they control how discussions happen and how your content is shared... yet somehow, doing all of that, they want to claim to be the same as the cable or phone company that provided you a modem and an open line to the net.

        It doesn't add up. What it's created is a situation where nobody is truly responsible for anything, perhaps summing up perfectly the overall online attitude - it's like endless 4chan.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 12:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Banks are services too, but for sure they get really fussy over handing the details of their customers even on criminal cases. Unless you got a valid court order and a proper case, don't expect them to get it, and even then, they fight it to the bitter end.

          That's another example of a 230 section.

          Want another example? The current model for owning a business is a "limited responsibility" one. That means that even if you're the owner (or one of the owners) of that business, you have no legal liability over what happens there. At most, it's the economic one (you lose the business and/or the stocks).

          But even if the worse is done, you won't lose your home, you won't go to jail or anything like that. The CEO might take a lot of shit (and well, looking at Volkswagen's CEO, it looks like he'll get a 32M retirement pension), but even then, nothing really will done.

          And the culprit, the real culprits of all that mess, won't even be investigated, chased and jailed for having scammed millions of their users.


          So yeah, before you start fixing the small guys, go after the big ones.

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          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 9:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Banks are services too, but for sure they get really fussy over handing the details of their customers even on criminal cases. Unless you got a valid court order and a proper case, don't expect them to get it, and even then, they fight it to the bitter end."

            I am not suggesting they give out information WITHOUT a court order - but if a case is in front of a court and a motion is made to obtain the information, I don't think an ISP should be playing defense for customers. If they are a dumb pipe, they should do the same as phone companies - the court issues a warrant, you give the information and it ends there. Currently every attempt to get a warrant or perform discovery for ISP information turns into a huge and protracted legal battle, which makes no sense. All it does is stop a valid legal process from moving forward.

            "So yeah, before you start fixing the small guys, go after the big ones."

            That is the silly "but officer, the other car was driving faster" excuse. We thankfully don't deal with things only a highest priority basis and everything else stops, otherwise we would be as a country completely locked on North Korea's nukes and totally unable to deal with paying out welfare or renewing a drivers license.

            Are their biggest evils out there? Always. Even when you get to the biggest (say like Trump's hair stylist) there is always something more evil (like TMZ). No matter how hard you try, there is always something "worse". You can spend all your time spinning your wheels finding the next even worse thing, or you can put your shoulder to the wheel and get something done about the situation in front of you.

            Oh, and Volkswagon's CEO is subject of a criminal investigation and there is a big potential that he ends up in prison. His golden handshake (whatever it may be) won't be worth what he will have to pay for it - potentially most of his remaining natural life.

            That evil will be taken care of, can you move along?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 11:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I am not suggesting they give out information WITHOUT a court order - but if a case is in front of a court and a motion is made to obtain the information, I don't think an ISP should be playing defense for customers. If they are a dumb pipe, they should do the same as phone companies - the court issues a warrant, you give the information and it ends there. Currently every attempt to get a warrant or perform discovery for ISP information turns into a huge and protracted legal battle, which makes no sense. All it does is stop a valid legal process from moving forward."

              And again, banks do play that protracted legal battle to cough up your data. You should see how many governments can't get banks to cough up information about their customers that easily, even in clear cut cases.

              Or how do you think it's so hard to catch the real criminals, corrupt politicians and such people? And let's not talk about the mafias and drug dealers that use such banks.

              Anonymity? That's some real anonymity they got in those banks. And their business (particularly of swiss banks) is clearly to provide that anonymity.

              And read below to see how hard will fight Volkswagen and other companies to avoid taking responsibility for what they did.

              "That is the silly "but officer, the other car was driving faster" excuse. We thankfully don't deal with things only a highest priority basis and everything else stops, otherwise we would be as a country completely locked on North Korea's nukes and totally unable to deal with paying out welfare or renewing a drivers license.

              Are their biggest evils out there? Always. Even when you get to the biggest (say like Trump's hair stylist) there is always something more evil (like TMZ). No matter how hard you try, there is always something "worse". You can spend all your time spinning your wheels finding the next even worse thing, or you can put your shoulder to the wheel and get something done about the situation in front of you."

              And yet, the guy that was driving faster goes away without taking responsibility for their actions, because you're focusing on the guy that you got in front of you.


              And that's what I'm talking about. You're so big on the small fries taking responsibility for their actions but then, it seems that there is no problem about the big ones getting away with it.

              And the more you choke the small guy, it gets easier for the big guys to get away with it. Because it makes it easier for them to control the system (police, courts, governments).


              You see, all those things about people having to take responsibility for what they do turns into bullshit the moment there are people that get away with what they do.


              It's impossible? Then people seek to balance the scales the way they can. Because, you know, people are tired of being the idiots that have to follow the law while others get away with it.


              And what you're doing when you support making it easier to catch the small fries is that the big guys got it easier to avoid taking responsibility for what they do.

              Because, if suing gets to be that easy, they will sue those small fries to death until they silence them.

              Libelous speech? How cute of a term. Let the courts determine if what this guy said against me is "libelous speech" or not. But wait, will he be able to pay all those lawyers?


              And the consequence of that is that well, in the end, we end up sacrificing some of our rights because you want to catch trolls, youtube uploaders and racists.

              Fuck, even if it was the worst crimes, those that I would never commit and that make me puke; I wouldn't fucking give those criminals the satisfaction of having taken away any of my rights.

              If that happened, that would be their win.

              And make sure that the world wouldn't be safer or better. Because it has never been the case. In fact, in many cases it's been the opposite.


              "Oh, and Volkswagon's CEO is subject of a criminal investigation and there is a big potential that he ends up in prison. His golden handshake (whatever it may be) won't be worth what he will have to pay for it - potentially most of his remaining natural life."

              You're naive or you're just stupid?

              Criminal investigation? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

              It will be a farce. If by any chance he ends up going to jail, make for sure that such jail will be more luxurious than what you have ever seen in your whole life.

              For starters, as I've said, the CEO is just taking the shit when the real culprits are getting away with it. Because, you know, that's what he was hired for.

              And furthermore, he might end up not going to the jail because, you know, he knows too much of a company that is making around 30,000,000,000 in net income per year worldwide. And that company will make sure that he doesn't speak too much, nor that things turn out bad for him, because they want to make sure that the next CEO knows that they got his back covered.

              And secondly, I'll add ignorant to the list of naive/stupid: his golden... what? The 32M is the pension he'll get from retirement. Then, you should consider how much he has gotten from doing what he did and other things, and also, how much he will get from shutting up the things he knows about VW.

              He has probably earned waaaaay more money than what we know, enough, for sure, to justify all the shit he has done. Trust me, what they will do to him about this issue will be small change: VW will make sure that his loyalty is properly paid, and if by any chance he turns disloyal, they will take care of that too.


              Wait, you were talking about "obstruction" before, weren't you? About how ISPs obstruct LEAs, courts and that by fighting so on court.

              Volkswagen and that CEO will obstruct justice to the bitter end and further, take that for sure.

              The obstruction the sites put when people want to ask about details of their customers will look like kids' games compared to what Volkswagen will do. Because they don't want their CEO singing an operetta.


              Want more obstruction? He probably has his money in Swiss banks and banks from other countries (such as Panama) that will make sure that the money stays there.

              Furthermore, if he's been a smart guy, he will have a lot of money and properties under the name of front men (they are called testaferro in some languages - iron head, literal translation) or family members. Meaning that whoever sues him, won't be able to take those properties away from him.


              You can bet that after all this shit cools down, he will either live a pleasant retired life living in a luxury higher than what you would dream of. And that's if he doesn't end up managing another company, as payment of his loyal services.


              "That evil will be taken care of, can you move along?"

              What evil will be taken care of?

              Apart that the CEO is just the front (it seems you didn't read the part where I said he was just going to take the shit, not that he was the real culprit), the question still remains:

              Where are the real culprits of this issue? Who gave the order? Who was the accomplice? Who shut up their mouth even if they knew about it? Where are the officials that did those tests? Where they aware of it? Why did they fail to detect such a thing?


              You being so bigmouthed about responsibility: where is every person that should take responsibility for what happened? What will happen to them?

              Wait, I'll tell you: most of them will say that they were acting as ordered and will get away from having helped in such a thing.

              It's understandable, of course. They need to keep their jobs and in the end, they are just small fries. Even if they have collaborated in a worldwide scam to keep their jobs.

              And yet, I'm not interested in them: I'd rather target the owners of Volkswagen. The people who earned the big bucks by doing this. I'd also target the officials that let themselves be bribed and who, knowingly, let those cars pass the tests. Because I don't believe, for a bit, that nobody knew about this when we have millions of cars affected by this.

              I'm also interested in that this whole fiasco has shown that maybe there are more companies doing the same, and that they also should be thoroughly investigated, including EPAs and others.

              But you see, those guys will never get caught. Nor even investigated. None of what should happen will happen. At most, they will sacrifice some small fry.


              But then, that answers the question of why nobody wants to take responsibility for what they do.

              Because nobody actually takes it. And you aren't going to be the only idiot that takes the shit for laws that you don't even agree with (their case is worse, because they claim to agree with those laws).

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 11:13am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Correction: 30 billion of gross income, net income is 12 billion roughly, depending on the year. It's still a lot.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:03pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Btw, seems that I left this out.


                Sure, the society can't and shouldn't stop just because the big guys don't get caught. I agree with you on that.

                But you see, people are less prone to respect the limits that the society puts on them when you mainly focus on what they do and you leave out what others do, that is way worse than what they are doing.


                Oh, btw, we actually deal with things on a highest priority basis. Again, you are mistaken in that.

                Just that the priority seems to be focused on keeping the citizens in line (the plebs, if you want it), rather than on applying them properly and proportionally.

                Considering how laws are made (through lobbying, bribes and influences) and how are they applied (money money money money...), I'd say that's a pretty accurate assessment.


                Whatever, the "the other car was driving faster" is a pretty much valid argument when:

                - The other car isn't a car, but a tank, and is always the same, that happens to belong to someone very influential.
                - It's doing so under the nose of the policeman, that is ignoring the other car while giving you a ticket.
                - The ticket is for exceeding the speed limit in 5 km/h when the other guy is playing Need for Speed 5 on the highway at 200 km/h (don't ask me how he did so, it's an example).

                And you want to put radars to catch those who exceed the speed limit, while ignoring that tank that is flattening the other cars at 200 km/h.

                Well, I'll admit that the car-tank comparison isn't too accurate when you compare citizen-corporation/politician. Maybe I should have used a Nimitz class Aircraft Carrier...


                Focusing on petty crimes (cars) while ignoring the bigger ones (tanks) just because you can't deal with them doesn't make people respect the law you're supposed to protect.

                Well, telling those who just fined that you're doing it for their safety is a bit hard to explain after they have just seen someone being flattened by the tank.


                It's the same as trying to explain about how people should take responsibility for what they do when they just read the news about another politician getting away from stealing millions from their country because the computer that had the proof of his wrongdoings, including proof that his party (the governing one) was involved in that and others, just happened to disappear before giving it to the judge.

                Yup, that computer was requested by the judge, in a court order. Does it ring a bell?

                Btw, what happened to them? Nothing. The investigation was silenced out. Obstruction charges? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

                And yeah, this is a true story. I'm not making it up.


                And I'd say that your regular TechDirt reader is sick of reading stories like that every day.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 1:07am

          "Nobody is truly responsible for anything"

          I may not be thinking clearly, having just finished playing The Beginner's Guide but...

          Isn't that the way it already is? That no nobody is truly responsible for anything?

          We've been watching for, what, years now? That the United States is made of of three castes, and none of them have much in the way of responsibility.

          Agents of Law Enforcement, who are self-governing and not very much of that, so they get to engage in whatever runner-shooting, nub-kicking, asset forfeiting behavior they wish with impunity.

          High-ranking officials, whether in companies or in government or even both, who can afford legal defense enough to escape justice, but but also can afford to hire other people to do their dirty work for them and take the hit when things don't go right. If one of them doesn't like what you said, they can just hire people to make your life miserable.

          And then there's the rest of us, and we have the opposite problem which is that we'll be found guilty of whatever law enforcement can bust us for, and the question is not whether we're guilty, but just how long in prison we'll spend, because a jury of peers will convict a ham sandwich. It doesn't matter what you might or might not have done, once you're in the court system your chances of acquittal are slim at best, especially if there are any officers at all who are willing to attest you to your guilt (and there are).

          We've seen many incidents in which people have been taken to task for what they said online, specifically when what they said was not all that offensive, or was taken out of context or decided that it could have been taking out of context to indicate a plot of terror.

          Really, anytime one of us posts, we risk offending someone that doesn't like dissent or doesn't like rap lyrics or doesn't like whatever it was they said, all they need is the ear of an eager and nearby precinct, and that person is disappeared into the justice system after their front door is busted down by a SWAT team.

          Whether no-one is punished or everyone is punished or people are arbitrarily punished for being in the wrong place at the wrong time there's no justice. There's no accountability. There's no responsibility.

          It's absurd any of us would expect responsibility or responsible behavior in the current clime. Those of us who are civil are because we choose to be, not because we fear just retribution from any direction.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 2:05am

            Re: "Nobody is truly responsible for anything"

            Not only that.

            Nowadays, it's really easy to fuck up the life of someone innocent online.

            You see, the police is requesting to be able to do this:

            - Hack someone's computer
            - Get an undetectable trojan
            - Remotely control that computer, for example, to arrange deals or meetings to get more criminals on their net
            - Get the proof, remove the trojan, if possible, without leaving traces
            - Arrest them

            I'm not sure if they'll get what they want or not. They probably will.

            But remember: what the police can do, criminals can do it too. Either because they also got a copy of that trojan, or they bribed the police to get a copy of that trojan, or they bribed the police of another country that got a copy of that trojan.

            And of course, what the police can do, militaries will do it better.

            Heard about the term "cyberwar"? It sounds sci-fi, doesn't it?

            I'd say it isn't as "fiction" now as it was in the 90's, and probably, it will be standard tactic to do so in the future.

            Get someone's address, IP, name or whatever after having hacked one of those "service provider"'s databases. Because, you know, not everybody can afford the security the NSA has.

            Go and use your magic wand on their computer. Do some shady stuff while keeping them hidden, like CP, racism, hate speech, downloading a song... Whatever (lol) that is illegal.

            Grab a bag of pop khornes. Eat it while you wait. Read the news after a few days. Lol.


            Taking responsibility of what people do? Lol. People will end up taking responsibility of what they don't do.

            If they are lucky, they might get proof that the guy is innocent, but he will have his life messed up for months or years until that comes:

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/4927236/Wrongly-accused-of-porn-after-wifi-ha cked

            The difference with a trojan like that is that, well, the images will be in your computer, in a hidden (but detectable after a few sweeps) folder.


            Modifying section 230? Fuck, I'd rather reinforce it with adamantium, because the shit that for sure will come in a few years sounds worrisome.

            Imagine what an organization that blackmails people can do with these tools with added help to disable such safeguards for the normal guy?

            Or a country that wants to disrupt another country's economy can do with all that? Or if they want to spread "hate speech" by using your own computer instead of theirs?


            Paranoid? Yeah, well, until Snowden and Assange, many people thought that the NSA and CIA spying on us where pure paranoia...

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        • identicon
          cpt kangarooski, 7 Oct 2015 @ 8:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The problem is an ISP really is the company that provides your home (or business) internet connection, not one who provides a website and incorporates your contributions into their selected format and presentation.

          Well, "ISP" is just a bit of shorthand. Who the statute actually protects by its own language is, in fact, amazingly broad:

          No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.


          Thus, the only person who can be held liable is the originating party; anyone else, such as a website that allows people to post things, and even a user who merely repeats something that they heard offline, is protected by the statute.

          These companies are not "dumb pipes" similar to a phone company.

          To the extent that, say, Techdirt allows us to post whatever we like here in the comments, that's exactly what the website is. Or are you suggesting that Mike is looking over my shoulder before I post?

          even require that you assign them copyright over your "content" to be on their service

          What does that have to do with anything?

          Currently every attempt to get a warrant or perform discovery for ISP information turns into a huge and protracted legal battle, which makes no sense.

          It makes several kinds of sense. 1) Most providers don't want to do anything but keep their equipment online and get paid, and ideally only the latter. Making them hand over information is work and they're against it. 2) Providers also like to retain their users for various reasons; they know that if they keep selling them out to the man, users will go somewhere else if at all possible. 3) Some people actually believe in taking a stand based on principle.

          What it's created is a situation where nobody is truly responsible for anything, perhaps summing up perfectly the overall online attitude - it's like endless 4chan.

          Well, section 230 came into effect in 1996, and the past almost 20 years online have generally been alright. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 10:11pm

      Re:

      "Further, sites that do have tracking information (such as IP address, confirmed email, or whatever) are loath to give that information up in court, and fight to the very end to protect the privacy of these people."

      So you advocate anarchy. You advocate a government with no laws. (You even advocate that the police have no laws). You advocate anyone being able to do whatever they want with no legal restrictions. You want anyone to be able to get information from anyone with no legal barriers.

      As you would put it, laws exist for a reason. The law is the law. But you hate laws because you just want anarchy. At least for you. Never mind the fact it is the very laws you hate that are here protecting your anonymity. You still advocate anarchy.

      "Further, sites that do have tracking information (such as IP address, confirmed email, or whatever) are loath to give that information up in court, and fight to the very end to protect the privacy of these people."

      Even if this is true this says nothing about how much they must 'fight'. Or how much the law should protect them.

      This is like saying that businesses being sued for bogus reasons would fight to the very end to protect themselves. They absolutely should.

      Or that there are businesses that would fight to the very end even after getting legitimately sued (think Prenda law). But how close to the 'end' they are willing to fight says nothing about how easily the legal system should allow them to simply lose. Or whether or not they are right to fight. Or whether or not the law should just require them to lose without due process. Or whether or not service providers should be responsible for the actions of their users and to what extent. and that is the point here. Service providers shouldn't be required to simply hand over information on request without some sort of independent third party (the courts) ensuring that there is a legitimate reason to. How far the service provider is willing to fight is irrelevant to how far the court system will allow it to go before determining whether or not there is a legitimate reason to require an ISP to turn information over. If the plaintiff has a good case they can present it to the court. Then if the case is so obviously strong the court will quickly decide that the information should be turned over. Many service providers will usually turn over information at this point. Few may appeal. If the case is still so strong it may not take long for the appellate court to deny the case. In some cases the courts take very long but this is a general legal problem that we have, especially in such a litigious society where the courts are often overwhelmed. But that's no reason to deny anyone the courts and due process. That's perhaps an issue that needs to separately be addressed. For the legal system to expedite one group of plaintiffs over everyone else that the legal system takes so long to process is not fair to everyone else that must go through the slow slow legal system. What you want is you want a special pass to the front of the line because the legal system is much too slow for you. You think you're special. Well get in line with everyone else stuck in line within the slow and expensive legal system because you're not special. Or advocate a way to make the legal system equally and more fairly faster for everyone else but in a way that's fair for everyone including service providers and defendants without taking away our due process. Without allowing any Joe blow to ask for personal information, including your own personal information, and be entitled to it without some sort of neutral way of ensuring that whoever is asking has good reason to have that information. Because clearly you advocate being anonymous. You aren't giving up your identity here. Do you want a legal system that simply requires Techdirt to hand over information about you on request even when you did nothing wrong? If not be the first example. Tell us who you are.

      and the shills often complain about Tor and proxies but they seem to use them here (as far as I know from conversations I've seen here). Hypocrites. What's good for them is not good for everyone else.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:30pm

        Re: Re:

        "So you advocate anarchy."

        Actually, I'm not sure what the problem is with anarchy.


        Nowadays it's the anarchy of the 1%. They make the laws, they twist them, they break them, they pay them and they get away when they get caught, because they got the money to do so and if needed, the power to take whatever they want on.

        At some point, the remaining 99% want to sniff a bit of that anarchy too. And compared to being able to scam millions of your customers and get away free (or with a fine that is hardly a problem to pay for them), commenting anonymously on the internet is a really small thing. That's when they don't kill their customers or create them serious health issues.


        But of course, they want to have the monopoly of anarchy too.

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

        • icon
          Padpaw (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 12:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That is the fun thing about revolutions the corrupt rules tend to go out the window. About the only good thing though, as there is enough to make people refuse to do them unless as a last resort.

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

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The trouble is, all the other rules tend to go out the window too. Think "The Purge" but in real life.

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            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 12:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yeah, unless we have a new constitution pulled together in advance (on Reddit, probably) we're probably going to have to go through a Terror phase. Which means I'll have to learn French.

              In fact, we'll probably have a Terror even if we have a fancy new regime at the ready.

              Even worse than that, revolutions are prone to same as the old boss. Mexico had such an epidemic that spread all across the Americas.

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              • identicon
                Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Oct 2015 @ 2:48am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Writing the constitution is the least of your problems; you've got to be able to enforce it or it has no value.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 2:10am

      Re:

      "The true unintended consequence of section 230 is that it has left offended parties with no true legal remedy for speech against them."


      If you are at a party and someone offends you with their speech, what legal remedies do you use that you can't use on the internet?

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 12:38pm

        There are some problems, but they may require sophisticated solutions.

        There are new social hazards on the internet that haven't been a problem (or much of a problem) in real-life settings.

        There should, for example, be some kind of remedy for doxxing someone, essentially posting This person is a real jerk. Someone should kill him and burn his house down.

        Our non-internet examples are fewer, though fresh in my mind is the example of Dr. George Tiller, who performed late-term abortions for patients with extreme cases was gunned down (in church!) by Scott Roeder after a lengthy smear campaign by Bill O'Reilly.

        Now, anyone who wants someone attacked or even lynched simply needs to post someone's alleged crimes and their contact information to start a harassment campaign. Zoey Quinn was the unfortunate recipient of such a campaign after (what I think was) a nasty break-up, the details of which were changing and dubious.

        But she's a game designer, not a war profiteer or a puppy euthanizer or a DC Lobbyist. Definitely not someone who should have to go into hiding and adapt disguises and secondary identities like a mob informant on the witness stand.

        Doxxing has some clear implications of incitement, and I don't have any clear ideas how to address the issue since it can be done anonymously and without enough evidence to secure legal recourse. ...And I personally don't want to give up the benefits of the open internet, even if I'm personally put at risk for being doxxed.

        But yes, while I think freedom of speech and anonymity should be largely protected on the internet, there are a few exceptions for which I'd like to see some protections.

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  • identicon
    Thrudd, 30 Sep 2015 @ 10:59am

    Alrighty then.

    So who will start the process of issuing anonymous takedown notices and make these people be forgotten from the free and open Internet they hate so much?

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

  • identicon
    Thrudd, 30 Sep 2015 @ 10:59am

    Alrighty then.

    So who will start the process of issuing anonymous takedown notices and make these people be forgotten from the free and open Internet they hate so much?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 10:59am

    Most important law? For who?

    TIL the internet is fully contained inside the US.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:24pm

      Re: Most important law? For who?

      > TIL the internet is fully contained inside the US.

      Tch, like that'll ever happen. The NSA LOVES being able to send traffic to Canada so it (technically) becomes foreign communications that it can (technically) legally spy on.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 10:59am

    He thinks that he's helping the oppressed, but his "solution" would do the exact opposite
    .
    That is the very definition of a tyrant, someone who is so convinced that they are helping the oppressed that they cannot see that they are oppressing them even more.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:03am

    Not as basic concept as you would think

    This seems like such a simple concept: the only one responsible for saying something should be the person who said it

    The anti-gunners have been dying to go after gun manufacturers for decades. MADD would love nothing more than to go after the beer/wine/liquor mfgs. We have a long, disgraceful history of going after 3rd parties for the actions of an individual. Mostly because the 3rd parties have the money, not because they did anything illegal or even immoral.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:17am

      Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

      Don't worry; that's changing. The trend is to go after people who don't have the money. They can't afford to fight your bogus patent or copyright lawsuit, often filed in a different state. While the settlements are smaller - often the result of default judgements followed by garnisheed wages - they arrive in larger numbers.

      Hope This Helps!

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

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:45am

      Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

      The anti-gunners have been dying to go after gun manufacturers for decades. MADD would love nothing more than to go after the beer/wine/liquor mfgs. We have a long, disgraceful history of going after 3rd parties for the actions of an individual.

      Guns have no other use than as a weapon. Booze has no other use than to make someone intoxicated. (Once upon a time it had medicinal uses as an antiseptic or an anesthetic. These days, we have actual antiseptics and anesthetics for that, and no one uses liquor for it anymore.) When you're creating and selling a product that has no other use than something immoral and harmful, there's a huge difference between that and creating a platform that enables speech, which has plenty of potential uses that are moral and helpful.

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

      • icon
        Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:11pm

        Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

        Guns have no other use than as a weapon.

        I'm not a hunter or even a gun supporter, but even I can see the stupid in that remark. Guns are simply tools and have wide range of uses beyond hurting other people. Hunting for food comes to mind. Protection while out in the wilderness is another.

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        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

          I didn't say "guns have no other use than for hurting other people"; I said they have no other use than as a weapon. You ever hear of someone hunting without a weapon? Me neither.

          The interesting thing about that particular strawman, though, is how easily it falls apart under scrutiny. If you look at weapons made for hunting animals, and weapons made for murdering people, they tend to be very different creatures, particularly with regard to size. A hunting rifle (or shotgun) needs to be accurate at a long range, which requires a long barrel for stability. If you saw someone out hunting for deer with a pistol, or an assault rifle, you'd think it looks very strange, wouldn't you?

          But when your goal is to kill people... well, people tend to live and interact with each other in close quarters, and they don't spook when they see a human being approaching the way game animals do, so you don't need long-range accuracy. People do, however, tend to spook when they see a human being approaching with a gun, which is why killing-people guns very rarely have long barrels: making them smaller makes them easier to conceal until the moment of truth arrives. (With the notable exception of sniper rifles, whose entire use case revolves around staying hidden anyway.)

          It's almost as if hunting-tools and murdering-tools were two completely distinct classes of guns, no?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

            So we must give up pistols because they are for killing people. So when people who don't give them up because they are criminals come after you, you are unarmed because you couldn't fit a long gun under your shirt? The fallacy in your writings are quite clear. Somehow making something illegal makes it magically go away. Just like prohibition did away with alcohol and drug laws have eradicated drugs?

            You are free to give up your liberties, just don't take them from the rest of us.

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          • icon
            Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

            Like I said, Mason, I'm neither a hunter nor a gun supporter, so I'm not really interested in getting into a debate over this.

            My point really boils down to the fact that a gun is still just a tool and how it is used is up the person holding it. Blaming gun manufacturers just because they make pistols instead of hunting rifles is as stupid in my mind as blaming hammer manufacturers because sometimes people hit other people with them.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:09pm

            Gun panic is still moral panic.

            Did you see the bit recently about the Russian administration deciding that iOS gay-friendly emojis are dangerous to children?

            More evidence that people cannot tell what is dangerous or not. More accurately people can't tell what is dangerous enough that it should be regulated.

            I don't trust my government to decide what things I cannot have. And if they take away guns -- even those nasty guns with special bullets that only kill good people and healthy puppies -- they'll try to take away other things, including booze and pot and video games and books that talk about questionable subjects. And rock and roll that might or might not be Satanic.

            I especially don't trust you, Mason because you clearly (from my perspective) have an irrational bias against guns.

            People need to be allowed access to all these things, including the stuff you might consider dangerous. And then People need to be held accountable for when they do bad things with them. The acting persons who did bad things, not his weapons of choice.

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            • icon
              Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:27pm

              Re: Gun panic is still moral panic.

              The acting persons who did bad things, not his weapons of choice.

              Ah yes, the old "guns don't kill people; people kill people" canard. I was wondering how long until someone would trot that out.

              The problem is, actual data suggests that's not true in any but the most technical, literal sense. Yes, people kill people, but they're doing it with guns. Put two pairs of people in the exact same Bad Situation, with the same problems, the same tempers flaring, everything equivalent, except that in one of them there is a gun available and in the other, there isn't. The chance of the victim ending up dead in the first version is much, much higher; there are tons of studies demonstrating this.

              In light of this, there's nothing "irrational" at all about a bias against guns.

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              • icon
                Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:50pm

                Re: Re: Gun panic is still moral panic.

                The chance of the victim ending up dead in the first version is much, much higher; there are tons of studies demonstrating this.

                Do you have any citations for these studies? I would be interested in looking at them and their methodologies.

                Do the studies differentiate between situations where a gun is available and no other weapon is available or where a gun is available and other weapons (like say a baseball bat) are also available?

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                • icon
                  Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 2:04pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Gun panic is still moral panic.

                  Wow. That last sentence doesn't really make much sense. Let's try this again:

                  What I'm trying to ask (poorly, I know) is if the studies compare bad situations where guns are involved to the same situation where no weapons are available and also compare them to the same situation where a weapon other than a gun is available?

                  It seems to me that the results of bad situations where any weapon is available would be similar whether it's guns, knifes or baseball bats. To compare just the ones with guns to the ones with no weapons would seem disingenuous to me.

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                  • icon
                    Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 3:31pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Gun panic is still moral panic.

                    That's a very interesting question. I'm actually not aware of any such study.

                    A couple intuitive points worth noting, though:

                    1) it's a lot easier to dodge a baseball bat than a bullet
                    2) it's a lot easier to hit someone with a baseball bat in a way that won't kill them than it is to shoot them non-lethally.

                    The same points apply, though to a lesser degree, to knives.

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                    • icon
                      Ninja (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 3:30am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gun panic is still moral panic.

                      Check the net, it is not that hard to survive a gun wound.

                      It does not matter if it's easier to dodge a bat, if the one with the bat intends to kill he/she will kill. But even with the bat, if said person KNOWS there will be severe punishment they will more often than not restrain their killing instinct. Same for guns.

                      Your scenario is flawed. It does not matter if there is a gun or not but rather if the situations will happen at all. There are countries in Europe where there are tons of guns and yet you don't see bullets raining from the skies, people dying in droves. Why is that? This is the question that should be asked before even thinking of forbidding guns.

                      I personally don't like guns either but I think anybody should be free to have one for whatever reasons.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 12:24pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gun panic is still moral panic.

                        There are countries in Europe where there are tons of guns and yet you don't see bullets raining from the skies, people dying in droves. Why is that?

                        Gun safety, because in Europe people do not keep their weapon loaded and available when they are not using it. The law demands that the gun and ammunition are kept in separate locked storage, and that the gun is transported to and from a range unloaded and in a case or bag. They may even require that a rifle bolt is removed from the gun for transport and separate storage. Non compliance with these laws is cause for removal of the persons gun license.
                        Therefore in Europe it is not possible for someone to simply pick up a gun a shoot someone.
                        Also note, that in America, most towns in the 'wild' west required that cowboys did not carry their guns but handed them over for safe storage while they enjoyed the facilities of the town. Guns and alcohol are always a bad combination.

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                        • icon
                          Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 12:45pm

                          Safe storage in the towns.

                          Towns were certainly a no-shooting zone, but there were enough saloons with hand over your sidearm policies to suggest that the town constabulary wasn't collecting them in typical towns. (I could see the argument that the saloons were the ones that held weapon-check facilities.)

                          Guns and inebriation certainly do not mix, though, and we see an elevation of firearm accidents in states that still allow using guns while drunk.

                          Here in California, you're only allowed to handle firearms when you're sober enough to fly a plane. I'm pretty sure it's different in Texas.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 3:33pm

                Re: Re: Gun panic is still moral panic.

                If only there were a big government, that with the wave of a hand and a passage of a law could save us all. But first I would like alcohol and drugs outlawed. What, they are or were outlawed? It didn't work out? So no, I will keep my guns then.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 9:02pm

                The problem is, there's no "actual" data.

                Guns are highly controversial, and both sides have been willing to falsify data, or more exactly, filter data so that the selected subset yields a result that pushes their agenda.

                There's very little bathtub data, for instance or swimming pool data, or nature trail data, or parachute data, because we don't collect data regarding most human activities. We only collect data regarding guns, and that data is collected by organizations that push specific agendas regarding guns. There's no impartial data from impartial sources.

                And because there is so many false claims, or dubious claims, there's no way for us to ensure that a real study you do is valid and presents reproducible results.

                Contrast the Guttmacher Institute, an organization whose soul purpose is to produce accurate statistics regarding sexuality, birth control usage, natality and abortion. They present no investment in any position regarding any of these subjects.

                No such organization exists regarding gun ownership, usage, crime, etc. And there are no sources to look at comparable hazards in American life (e.g. knives, cars, swimming pools, vending machines and so on.)

                But plenty of people are willing to push towards agenda with bad data or no data, as is the case with iOS gay friendly Emojis in Russia.

                So yes, we have no valid means to differentiate your bias against guns from someone's bias against Led Zeppelin or more recently the Grand Theft Auto video game series.

                And that said, I appreciate retaining my liberties when I can, thank you.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 9:13pm

                Adam Lanza liked Dance Dance Revolution

                PS: The reason that old canard keeps resurfacing might actually be that it raises valid points.

                Human beings live in a certain amount of risk by owning or being around things, including other people. And it's inappropriate to attack guns as a source of human woe and not attack all the countless other hazards that are about as dangerous as guns, or even more so.

                And the Columbine incident lent some solid examples of how displacing responsibility away from acting individuals creates efforts to encroach on our liberties. I remember the game Doom and the artist Marilyn Mansion both being singled out because Harris liked both.

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          • icon
            Padpaw (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 12:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

            the problem though comes from if you restrict guns from your citizens you need to restrict them from the cops, and just about everyone else. Allowing for exceptions makes such a gun ban pointless.


            As it is there are far fewer gun toting murderers than there are gun owners.

            Even if you banned guns from 99% of the population there would still be that disconnect.

            Personally I think we should focus on the mental health problem more than what weapon they happen to use for their murder sprees.

            Otherwise we might as well ban every other object that people use to murder. That would be stuff like cars, cutlery, heavy objects, etc.

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        • icon
          ottermaton (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:54pm

          Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

          Guns have no other use than as a weapon.
          I'm not a hunter or even a gun supporter, but even I can see the stupid in that remark. Guns are simply tools and have wide range of uses beyond hurting other people. Hunting for food comes to mind. Protection while out in the wilderness is another.

          Funny, then, that every example you give is an example of a gun being used as a weapon. Hunting? You're using the gun as a weapon to take the animal down. Self defense? You're using the gun as a weapon to protect yourself.

          That is a whole lot of stupid in a remark.

          And no, I am absolutely not opposed to gun ownership in any way. But it's really disingenuous to claim they have any other purpose than as a weapon. Hell, even when someone is shooting targets or skeet they are practicing using the gun as a weapon.

          It's an absurd argument. Guns are weapons and nothing but weapons. They can be used responsibly, justifiably, and even honorably, but they are still only weapons.

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          • icon
            Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

            It's an absurd argument. Guns are weapons and nothing but weapons.

            Fair enough. But the bottom line of argument still stands - guns are simply tools, whether you classify them as weapons or not the responsibility still lies with the person holding the gun, not the gun itself nor the manufacturer of the gun.

            Has any society, anywhere, ever held the blacksmith responsible for everyone killed or maimed with the swords he made?

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            • icon
              ottermaton (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:09pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

              the responsibility still lies with the person holding the gun, not the gun itself nor the manufacturer of the gun.

              Absolutely agree.

              Has any society, anywhere, ever held the blacksmith responsible for everyone killed or maimed with the swords he made?

              No, and I hope they never do.

              But that's completely besides the point that I was trying to make about guns being weapons. Which you seem to have gotten.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:11pm

                "Guns are weapons"

                Is irrelevant in the argument regarding whether or not they should be regulated.

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

                • icon
                  ottermaton (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 4:26pm

                  Re: "Guns are weapons"

                  Is irrelevant in the argument regarding whether or not they should be regulated.

                  Which is totally irrelevant in THIS thread of the discussion where not a single person in this thread declared anything about regulation one way or the other.

                  But thanks for your input. I guess ...

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                  • icon
                    Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 8:44pm

                    Re: guns, regulation is ALWAYS relevant.

                    The only reason guns are discussed on this forum is regarding their regulation.

                    Few people like gush about their gun hobby on Techdirt.

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

                    • icon
                      ottermaton (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 5:40am

                      Re: Re: guns, regulation is ALWAYS relevant.

                      The only reason guns are discussed on this forum is regarding their regulation.

                      Oh. Thank you o wise one for illuminating us as to what we were actually talking about.

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 6:03am

                      Re: Re: guns, regulation is ALWAYS relevant.

                      "Few people like gush about their gun hobby on Techdirt."

                      Similarly, few people like to gush about their anime collection, motorbike racing, their mountaineering hobby, their travel habits, which nightclubs they go to or their amateur haberdashery exploits.

                      So? Is there any reason they should talk about anything not related to the stories posted here? Guns wren't remotely related here until an AC tried derailing the conversation.

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                      • icon
                        Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 12:01pm

                        The AC used guns as a relevant example.

                        The Anonymous Coward in question brought up guns only as follows:

                        The anti-gunners have been dying to go after gun manufacturers for decades. MADD would love nothing more than to go after the beer/wine/liquor mfgs. We have a long, disgraceful history of going after 3rd parties for the actions of an individual. Mostly because the 3rd parties have the money, not because they did anything illegal or even immoral.

                        One example in a list (albeit a short list) of people who go after third parties over grievances, which is exactly why Section 230 is an important regulation to keep, as it protects webhosts from the wrath incurred by its user-content.

                        Mr.
                        Mason Wheeler pinged off the gun ball, saying Guns have no other use than as a weapon. He also commented that booze isn't useful either (or rather that he doesn't approve of its current use in society). I'll give Mr. Wheeler the benefit of the doubt for now, and figure he was simply arguing that guns and booze aren't necessarily the best examples. But in his statement When you're creating and selling a product that has no other use than something immoral and harmful... that's a strong implication that he believes that guns and alcoholic beverages are immoral and harmful.

                        Gwiz challenged this, and the derailment of the thread onto guns and gun regulation (and booze along the way) became the new topic. So I'd say Mason Wheeler derailed the thread. Not Anonymous Coward.

                        And I, in the meantime, will continue to point at our society's history (and that of every other society) in erring on the side of presuming things are immoral and harmful when they're not, (and therefore suggesting they should be proscribed). And so long as our society continues to be that way, I'll scrutinize such judgements with skepticism, even when, as with booze and firearms, there are some obvious potentials for hazards.

                        The cognitive mechanism by which we freak out over guns, is the same one by which we freak out over gays...or for that matter (returning to the original subject) porn, dissent and rap music quotes on the internet that people might think should be censored.

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                        • icon
                          Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 12:01pm

                          Re: The AC used guns as a relevant example.

                          Crap. Apologies for my markup failure.

                          This is why I should preview posts that are heavily marked up.

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                        • icon
                          ottermaton (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 2:00pm

                          Re: The AC used guns as a relevant example.

                          Whew! You went a loooooong way there only to illustrate that nobody was actually talking about regulation, only that you inferred that they were.

                          Meanwhile, there are STILL no commenters discussing regulation. Except you.

                          Try doing a Ctrl+F for 'regulat' and you'll see that the only matches are yours and mine where I'm telling you that regulation is NOT what we're talking about. Perhaps it's come up in a roundabout way in another thread (I'm starting to wonder if you understand what a thread is), but not in this one.

                          Maybe you should take your axe to an anti-gun forum and grind it there.

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 12:02am

                          Re: The AC used guns as a relevant example.

                          Hmmm.... I said:

                          "Guns wren't remotely related here until an AC tried derailing the conversation."

                          In answer to that, you go on a rant starting with the words:

                          "The Anonymous Coward in question brought up guns only as follows:"

                          Exactly. The word "gun" wasn't mentioned anywhere until the AC whined about them. the rest of your post is irrelevant, I was just noting the same fact that you noted - that this thread only got derailed into a gun thread when AC brought them up.

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                          • icon
                            Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 1:12am

                            "whined"

                            Now I get it. You are living in a completely different world than I am.

                            Good to know in advance that you'll dismiss what I say without reading it based on presumptions.

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                            • icon
                              ottermaton (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 4:54am

                              Re: projecting

                              Good to know in advance that you'll dismiss what I say without reading it based on presumptions

                              Hahahahaha! That's really good! YOU are the one making a presumption that we were discussing anything about gun regulation when the conversation had nothing to do with that.

                              Textbook case of Psychological Projection

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              • icon
                Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:26pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                But that's completely besides the point that I was trying to make about guns being weapons. Which you seem to have gotten.


                Yeah, when I thought about it a little more, I had to concede that to be a truism.

                I was initially thinking in terms of someone like an early settler, where a gun was a necessity for everyday survival.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 5:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

          "Guns are simply tools and have wide range of uses beyond hurting other people"

          Which uses don't come as a result of it being made as weapon, however?

          "Hunting for food comes to mind."

          So, it's a weapon that's used to hunt animals instead of humans? It's still a weapon.

          "Protection while out in the wilderness is another."

          Protection afforded by its nature as a weapon.

          Other than disarming it and putting it on a display, every use is because it's a weapon. Shooting targets? It still needs to be a weapon else you won't do any damage to show where you hit. Defend your family? Weapon. Use it to intimidate an attacker without having to fire? That only worked because you're holding a weapon.

          As someone who comes from a completely different culture, I'm mystified by the obsession many Americans have with guns, especially the more obsessive, fetishistic approach taken by many. But, you can't deflect criticism of guns by denying that they're weapons by design. Hammers, baseball bats, knives, cars - all can be used as weapons but their primary design purpose lies somewhere else.

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          • icon
            Gwiz (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 6:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

            But, you can't deflect criticism of guns by denying that they're weapons by design.

            Yes. I already conceded that my initial statement was incorrect and didn't stand up to my own scrutiny once I thought about it some more.

            The usefulness of a gun as a tool stems from the fact that it is a weapon by design.


            As someone who comes from a completely different culture, I'm mystified by the obsession many Americans have with guns, especially the more obsessive, fetishistic approach taken by many.

            I think this difference is rooted in the fact that when Americans pioneered our wildernesses guns were the weapon of choice for protection. I don't know where exactly you are located, but perhaps it would be akin to someone wanting outlaw all swords in your culture.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

              "Yes. I already conceded that my initial statement was incorrect and didn't stand up to my own scrutiny once I thought about it some more."

              That's cool, I hadn't read the whole of the thread before I commented and the comment just stuck out at me. Glad you agree!

              As for the cultural thing, I understand where the roots may have grown, and I understand why some people might enjoy the sporting or think they need the defence angles. I'm not criticising all gun owners. I just don't understand the extremes to which some people have taken it.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2015 @ 3:54am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                I think fighter jets are pretty cool too but alas they are only weapons

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:15pm

        Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

        "When you're creating and selling a product that has no other use than something immoral and harmful"

        Who is to decide that? You?
        Guns have a lot of uses other what you claim to be immoral. How about self defense? How about as a hobby? How about for target practice for said self defense? How about for food to survive? Defending yourself is now immoral? Your limited view of the world is scary. It must be nice to be so insulated.
        What's wrong with a responsible adult becoming intoxicated? Are you telling me that I should follow your personal beliefs? I'm not sure that's how things work around here, and it's a damn good thing they don't. Might be time to move out of your parents basement and into the real world.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:17pm

        Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

        If guns kill people, then pencils cause misspellings.

        See how well that logic works?

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      • icon
        Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:22pm

        Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

        Booze has no other use than to make someone intoxicated. [...] When you're creating and selling a product that has no other use than something immoral and harmful...

        Immoral to whom? You? Because it's not me.

        I made a choice to stop drinking alcohol and have been sober for over 10 years now, but that still does not give me the right to determine the morals of other people. Why do you think you can or should dictate what other people choose to put into their own bodies?

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        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

          that still does not give me the right to determine the morals of other people

          Do you even know what "morality" is? Because anyone who holds to the idea that it's something that a person should determine their own version of is completely missing the point. Morality is the aggregate lab notes of human experience regarding issues of long-term causality. By definition, if you're creating your own you're doing it wrong, because you haven't lived long enough to have personal experience with the long-term effects of the causes covered by moral codes. (Yes, I'm making a few assumptions about your age here. Unless you're old enough to remember WWI, they're almost certainly correct.)

          Why do you think you can or should dictate what other people choose to put into their own bodies?

          No man is an island, that's why. If all it affected was "their own bodies," that would be one thing, but that's not even remotely true and you know it from personal experience, don't you? So please don't trot out a disingenuous line like that. We are talking about something that has been directly responsible for more death, misery, and poverty than every war in the history of mankind put together. Knowing that, how could any reasonable person say it's not inherently immoral?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

            We are talking about something that has been directly responsible for more death, misery, and poverty than every war in the history of mankind put together. Knowing that, how could any reasonable person say it's not inherently immoral?

            The same can be said for religion...let's start with that and work outwards from there.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

              Actually, one of the 10 commandments is thou shalt no kill. If people followed that, we wouldn't need guns except to hunt for for sport. All morals, outside of the bible are made up. If this world is just a cosmic accident, nothing matters and there is no right and wrong except for what the majority decides to enforce on the minority. Morals just shift with the sand in the wind.

              Now if there is an author of the morals, such as God, then they transcend time and society. It is interesting how people reject God, but want the morals he prescribed.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:54pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                Out of all 10 commandments, only two are laws...so either we reject the vast majority of god's "morality" or they just aren't relevant in any moral context.

                If you are moral simply because of god, then I'd venture to say that "fear of punishment" is the real motivator. That's how you teach children...as an adult, if you still need that motivation, I'd say you have no idea what morality is.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 3:39pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                  Fear? No. Love? Yes. When you love someone, you want to please them. Maybe you only relate to fear. Maybe that is how you motivate your children. But you will soon find that love is far more of a motivator than fear. Hopefully before you ruin your children

                  So yes, I know what morality is. It is an absolute, unlike the atheist who changes his like yesterdays socks.

                  Also, at least 3 are codified in most nations laws and adultery used to be. A very good case can be made that pretty much every other law is covered by these commandments.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 6:38am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                    Yes, fear...look at the first commandment - "I am the Lord your god - you will not have any other strange gods beside me."

                    That implies jealousy...or paranoia...or it's simply a way to scare weak minded individuals like theists into worshiping only that god. There's no mention of love anywhere...

                    It's fear, whether you want to admit it or not. When you think about the motivation of such a commandment from a god who is supposed to be all-powerful, all-knowing, all-whatever, it makes less sense.

                    But you will soon find that love is far more of a motivator than fear.

                    Try that reasoning with your screaming child and let me know how it works out for you.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:15am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                    So yes, I know what morality is. It is an absolute, unlike the atheist who changes his like yesterdays socks.


                    There is nothing more dangerous than a man absolutely convinced of his own moral certitude. I'll continue to consider my actions carefully, considering primary, secondary, even tertiary consequences, and optimizing for both personal and societal benefit, thanks.

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:40am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                    "So yes, I know what morality is. It is an absolute, unlike the atheist who changes his like yesterdays socks"

                    Translation: I don't know any atheists, so I'll make one up.

                    "Also, at least 3 are codified in most nations laws and adultery used to be"

                    Some of those laws predate Christianity, btw, some predate the book of Moses.

                    "A very good case can be made that pretty much every other law is covered by these commandments."

                    So why do you need 10 if you're so much more moral than the rest of us?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:08am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                    It is an absolute, unlike the atheist who changes his like yesterdays socks.

                    It's called "critical thinking" - it's what you should use instead of constantly referring to some book to make the decision for you.

                    It's the primary issue I have with "zero tolerance" laws that take away any semblance of common sense, particularly in school environments.

                    But hey, if actually thinking about things is a problem for you, then that's fine - religion wouldn't survive without sheeple foolish enough to follow its' every order, no matter how ridiculous.

                    "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 11:56pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                      Yeah, that's how I think. An intelligent, reasonable person weighs facts and evidence and makes decisions based on those. Someone who makes up his mind before evidence is presented is not to be trusted as they cannot adapt to the reality of any situation. That's the problem with zero tolerance - when a kid biting a tart into the wrong shape is treated the same as a kid who brings an actual firearm into school, something is wrong and it's the inflexibility to thought at its root.

                      There are intelligent religious people out there, but fundamentalists who believe that their cult is the only true cult and that their heavily edited ancient tome that's been translated multiple time is infallible and the only source of morals? Those people are the most dangerous. As the saying goes, you can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into in the first place - and we don't want rule for our society coming from people who cannot reason.

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                  • icon
                    ChrisB (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 11:02am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                    All morality is based on the Platinum rule, not religion. Ironically, religious morality is not absolute (because the bible is unclear and contradictory). For example, where in the bible does it say to obey street signs?

                    However, a moral system based on the Platinum rule can be universally understood and is much easier to abstract to different situations.

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                    • icon
                      Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 1:07pm

                      The Platinum Rule

                      I had to actually look up The Platinum Rule and how it differentiated from The Golden Rule. It seems to be a step towards the rule of reciprocity plus don't try dodge the rule of reciprocity with technicalities.

                      If you're being technically reciprocal but not reciprocal in spirit, you're not being reciprocal.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:18pm

                All morals inside the bible are made up.

                don't steal and don't kill are corollaries of reciprocity which has been something of an instinct since we walked on four legs. Since teamwork and organization are force multipliers, an inclination to regard each other with reciprocal respect has helped many a species survive.

                The biblical god also said wipe them out to the last infant and calf, and considering modern proscriptions of genocide, I find the bible a dubious source of morality.

                The recent Kim Davis affair isn't helping the case for biblical authority, either.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:21pm

                Oh and...

                If we human beings unilaterally followed the commandment thou shalt not kill we'd need not fear guns at all, but might still find them useful for keeping bears and vermin at bay.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

            "Morality is the aggregate lab notes of human experience regarding issues of long-term causality."

            I disagree with your definition of morality.

            Abuse of alcohol IS terrible (one of the reasons I don't drink). Abuse of pain meds is terrible too; shall we sacrifice them to your definition of morality? I'll pass, thank you...

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          • icon
            Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

            Morality is the aggregate lab notes of human experience regarding issues of long-term causality.

            What dictionary are you using? According to Webster it's:

            : beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior

            : the degree to which something is right and good : the moral goodness or badness of something


            Those sound very personal and subjective to me.


            Knowing that, how could any reasonable person say it's not inherently immoral?

            Because I don't impose my personal beliefs onto others. You should try it.

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            • icon
              Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:03pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

              That's not a dictionary definition, (and the second one you cited from the dictionary is circular and therefore kinda useless,) but it's the role that morality fills. That's why, regardless of which religion you look at, moral prescriptions and proscriptions tend to focus almost exclusively on subjects that have non-obvious long-term consequences: because that's what morality is for.

              Those sound very personal and subjective to me.

              Personal beliefs are personal and subjective, but "the degree to which something is right and good" is most definitely not. That's where we start to get into "you're entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts" territory.

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              • icon
                Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:09pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                Personal beliefs are personal and subjective, but "the degree to which something is right and good" is most definitely not.

                It's not? Then why the hell are we arguing over different opinions of whether alcohol use is immoral or not? You have one opinion concerning it and I have another. That seems like the very definition of subjective to me.

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                • icon
                  Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:19pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                  No, you have an opinion concerning it and I have facts concerning it. As much as you may wish to believe that the two are somehow morally equivalent, (no pun intended,) they're not.

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                  • icon
                    Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:28pm

                    You're going to have to explain that to me.

                    What facts are these, and how do facts dictate morality?

                    I would submit that facts do nothing of the sort.

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                    • icon
                      Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 4:06pm

                      Re: You're going to have to explain that to me.

                      Fact: Alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and addiction poses severe negative consequences to both physical and mental health. This alone is enough to establish drinking as objectively immoral, because dealing with situations where non-intuitive long-term harm arises as a consequence of things that seem pleasurable or beneficial in the short term is the most important task, if not the entire point, of morality.

                      Fact: Alcohol reduces inhibitions and behavioral filters. This is the source behind both the ancient proverb "in vino veritas" and the modern stereotype of the "mean drunk." It causes you to say and do things you would not say and do otherwise because you (when you're clear-headed) know that they are harmful. (There are those who would claim that this lowering of inhibitions is actually a benefit. It's worth noting that such a belief is positively correlated with actions that courts in just about every jurisdiction these days consider to be rape.)

                      Fact: Alcohol reduces cognitive abilities, both in the short-term and the long term. This is much more relevant in modern times than in ancient days, for two reasons: the "knowledge economy" (which a good percentage of Techdirt readers are participants in) and automobiles (I don't think I've ever heard anyone even try to say with a straight face that drunk driving is in any way morally acceptable.) But even laying these two points aside, who in their right mind would say it's OK to destroy your brain?

                      Those are all completely objective and non-controversial facts; I don't even have to begin to get into statistics on a moral question this basic...

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                      • icon
                        Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 4:49pm

                        Re: Re: You're going to have to explain that to me.

                        Ok, so those quoted facts obviously prove that you think that drinking alcohol is immoral and that's fine. It, however, still doesn't prove that me or anyone else or even society as a whole thinks drinking is immoral (which it obviously doesn't since I see no slowdown alcohol consumption). Morals are subjective, plain and simple. What you think to be immoral isn't always what other people think is immoral.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 2:01am

                          Re: Re: Re: You're going to have to explain that to me.

                          Addictions?

                          Tell a coke drinker to stop drinking it. I hope you're ready to die. Some even get violent if you tell them that there is no coca cola, but pepsi.


                          Still, I don't see the part about reducing inhibitions being completely bad. Ok, it's bad when you go violent, but then, you might have to ask yourself another question?

                          Someone that needs inhibition to not to be violent... isn't that a bad thing by itself? Well, more than bad, problematic.

                          I mean, what if, under the proper circumstances, that person would also lose control and go all berserker over the people around him? What if under that reaction lies, maybe, personal distress that nobody has detected before?

                          I remember a quote from "Lie to Me", the series, where they were talking about polygraphs. Cal Lightman (alter ego of Dr. Paul Ekman) was saying that polys are pure bullshit. Apart that they can be easily lied to, they make one important mistake:

                          They only tell you that a person is lying. They don't tell you WHY he is lying.

                          The problem isn't the alchohol, but the reaction of that person when his inhibitors are off. When that happens, you might want to check the person, rather than banning the alchohol.


                          And regarding the cognitive part. You're right, but you see, I think you're still being too soft on this.

                          I think it's easier if we banned cars. People wouldn't die from car accidents without them.


                          So, I agree with you, and I go further: let's ban coke, brains and cars. And porn too, don't forget about porn.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 1:14am

                        Re: Re: You're going to have to explain that to me.

                        Prohibition has been tried, and the result was a strengthening of organised crime because criminals supplied what people wanted and that made them a lot of money.
                        The war on drugs is imposing huge social costs, especially in places like Mexico, because the massive profits finance the criminal gangs.
                        Do you see a pattern, prohibiting people from using substances leads to the criminals profiting and the rest of society paying the price of worse social disorder than that created by the users of the substances.

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                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 6:07am

                        Re: Re: You're going to have to explain that to me.

                        "Those are all completely objective and non-controversial facts; I don't even have to begin to get into statistics on a moral question this basic"

                        Like the last time your country tried banning alcohol on the basis of those "facts"? Remind me how that turned out.

                        I won't even get started on the idiotic fallacies you're spouting.

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                      • icon
                        Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 12:10pm

                        Pedantic point

                        A fact is an event in nature. X person observed Y event at T time. It's the data.

                        The facts your proposing are at best conclusions, and ones that require citations so that those who might be interested can look at the actual facts and see if the conclusions are logically drawn from them.

                        Regarding controversial subjects, such as alchol use by the public and firearm ownership, there are a whole lot of dubious facts, and a whole lot more dubious conclusions.

                        So I would be extremely wary of what you claim to be beyond debate or scrutiny.

                        Our ballistics models are pretty damn accurate. Not perfect, but pretty good.

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                  • icon
                    Gwiz (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:30pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                    No, you have an opinion concerning it and I have facts concerning it.

                    Excuse me? We all have facts concerning it. What you are expressing is your opinion based on facts and so am I. Get off of your high horse, Mason.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:25pm

                This brings up Kim Davis again.

                She seems to be of the belief that homosexuality is the greatest evil of all and that she should devote every fiber of her being to trying to stop it.

                From her perspective gay people are to a very extreme degree neither right nor good.

                From my perspective, I think they're just fine, and that we afford all rights to them that we would anyone else is to a high degree right and good.

                Our opinions obviously contrast. What facts are going to decide that for us?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2015 @ 2:25pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                Except what's good for one person can be bad for another. And oftentimes decisions are made without full understanding of who are affected by them and how, dramatically altering the morality of the decision to the person making it.

                You don't define what is right and good. That is inherently egotistical and detestable.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

            If all it affected was "their own bodies," that would be one thing, but that's not even remotely true and you know it from personal experience, don't you?

            I ingested a few drinks into my own body, yesterday evening Mason, while in the comfort of my home - were you somehow affected by that?

            I'd venture to say, if you were, that the problem is you, rather than me.

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            • icon
              Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

              Did I say that I, personally, was somehow affected by that? Please don't put words in my mouth. But if you can't see how that can have long-term negative effects on others, particularly people you know personally and interact with on a regular basis, then please go off and play; the adults are trying to have a real conversation.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:29pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

                Perhaps only YOUR experiences have been long-term negative effects. Perhaps YOUR genetic makeup (or that of the people you surround yourself with) are incapable of responsibly enjoying alcohol.

                If that's the case, I get it. But to imply that NONE of us should because of YOUR "facts" and our "opinions" is what everyone is trying to tell you is misguided (and presumably an ADULT such as yourself, would be capable of understanding that).

                In short - my "facts" are different than yours.
                That's what everyone's trying to tell you.

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      • icon
        SteveMB (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 4:25pm

        Re: Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

        Guns have no other use than as a weapon.


        Weapons are good when they convince robbers and rapists to do something else (e.g. change their underwear) or, failing that, to stop doing something else (e.g. emitting greenhouse gases and 310K blackbody radiation).

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

    • identicon
      RA Warrior, 4 Oct 2015 @ 4:41pm

      Re: Not as basic concept as you would think

      Well said! I am not a techy, but a Gulf1 Vet, college grad, former corporate employee, wife, mother, volunteer and rabid political commentator...though mostly on Facebook.
      I have had lengthy discussions with my son's regarding FREE SPEECH, and who exactly gets to decide which words are good, and which are unacceptable...I.e. poop v shit. Sorry if I offended. NOT!! While I serve as word police in my home, I also do not overreact if one of my family members chooses a word that is less socially acceptable. I simply offer more educated choices.
      If section 230 is removed, we will ALL suffer. In this CRAZY politically correct world, someone is ALWAYS offended by something. I cannot keep up. Even GOD gave us free will. OOPS did I offend again?
      The bottom line for me is that I am grateful to have a forum in which I can express myself freely. I agree there are criminally insane abusers of this privilege, yet I spent part of my life defending our Constitution.
      In many countries, such as the UK, frivolous lawsuits are stifled by fining the attorney. I think that policy is ingenious and would love to see it implemented here. It Isn't any service providers fault that I strongly disapprove of Odummycare, our politicians, or that while a non-denominational Christian and "recovering Catholic", I choose to think and speak freely.
      IN the end, it's ALWAYS about one of or both of 2 things...money and power.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:15am

    Imagine an internet without anything on it.
    That is what getting rid of this law would do.
    The liability for daring to offer any platform for the exchange of information would be to great.
    Find a topic, I can find you 40 people butthurt enough about it to file a lawsuit, frivolous or not, to make it go the hell away.

    No reviews, no investigations, no in-depth coverage.
    An internet of beige commentary (well until those who hate beige file suit to make that go away).

    The internet functions a bid different than reality, but holding the platform responsible doesn't work in the real world why should it work online?

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Oct 2015 @ 5:14pm

      An internet without anything on it

      It's already been established that such would be a wet dream of big cable, of big media and of high-ranking officers doing shady things in government. All this interaction takes people away from the monodirectional we talk, you listen infotainment model of the 20th century.

      And people sharing data makes it harder to bury scandal and wrongdoing.

      Less money going to the Monopoly men and more hand wringing for the politicos. They would so love to curb that flak that they've tried several times to make ISPs and hoats legally responsible for their user content.

      Including in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:22am

    Oh the Irony. If not Section 230, Chu wouldn't have a Twitter account.

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

  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:24am

    So, basically speaking.... Chu don't know what Chu talking about.

    His claim to fame, being good a Jeopardy, has nothing to do with knowing anything and everything to do with reading clues. So... how can he be so clueless?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:45am

      Re:

      Simple. Success on Jeopardy calls for knowing trivia. Which as their name suggests, are just trivial random facts.

      It does not call for critical thinking, or in depth knowledge on any subject.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:25am

    Arthur Chu says something idiotic yet again? His entire twitter existence is saying stupid things.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:27am

    Off Topic, but...


    Again, it makes total sense to throw the guys responsible in jail for a long, long, long time.


    Lolwut? I don't disagree that revenge porn should be a crime, but how long (long, long) are we talking here? IMO, it should carry a rather light sentence.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 11:31am

    Sorry, but if you can't police yourself, someone else will do it for you.

    This has literally been reality since the dawn of man.

    Deal with it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:02pm

    I've noticed those who seek to exploit always seem to attack common sense. The only way anything he's written makes sense is if we were to see how large the check was he received for this rhetoric and who wrote it.

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

  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:03pm

    Website Suggestion

    Instead of "Reader Comments," rename this area "Section 230".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:04pm

    "Guns have no other use than as a weapon"

    ...right; weapons are weapons. If you meant to say guns have no other use than killing people, that's demonstrably false.

    "Booze has no other use than to make someone intoxicated."

    You know you can partake without getting drunk, right? I don't even drink and I know that...

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 9:23pm

      Booze helps make margaritas delicious.

      I only get a sip of them because half a drink will knock me out, but I have a personal fondness for the flavor of a well made blended margarita. A virgin one doesn't cut it.

      Also rum balls at Christmas time. Though in our house we used Old Overholt, which was awesome.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:14pm

    Purge the heretic, the mutant, the unclean.

    I think part of the illusion that people fall under is that it is clear to everyone which ones the zombies are, and that it is clear they should be extrajudicially (and summarily) removed.

    Much like the artistic merit qualification for an artwork to not be obscene, what I am sure felt obvious to some judges turns out to be subjective.

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

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 1:01am

      Re: Purge the heretic, the mutant, the unclean.

      Like operation "choke point" where the DoJ illegaly targeted porn actors by forcing businesses and banks to shut down any accounts with said porn industry in an attempt to make them go bankrupt.

      Nothing like have a police force decide who is moral and who is not then abusing their power to enforce their views on them.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 12:19pm

    Chu and his comrades in the new crazy version of feminism and "social justice" are some of the biggest bullies and hypocrites on the Internet. They simply want to shut up anyone who criticises or fact-checks their idiotic claims about the world, their whiny first world problems and seeing sexism and racism everywhere.

    Even air conditioning is sexist now. Really. Not making that up. These are the kinds of people we're dealing with here.

    The UN of all places recently wasted time listening to these pampered crybabies while people are being slaughtered in Syria for god's sake.

    I think the author should look into Chu and the other 'big names' in this latest wave of feminist and SJW idiocy infecting every corner of the internet these days. Then you'll see clear as day his true motivation here.

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

    • icon
      Toestubber (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 1:13am

      Re:

      Chu and his gang are disingenuous scumbags. I think that Mike, as well as many others who have been studiously dissecting this guy's inane, incoherent proclamations, are incorrect to simply assume he's an idiot. Chu understands what he is proposing; he just figures that his tribe would be well-placed to game any new system. His critics blame stupidity for what should properly be attributed to malice.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 1:37am

        Re: Re:

        Of course that he isn't an idiot and he knows what he's doing. He's even being paid to do so, as most of those shills.

        But you see, most people don't understand how idiotic are his comments, and particularly, the reach of what they want to do and what is to be lost here by doing so. You know the quote of the sacrificing your liberty for a bit of security? That one, yeah.


        As dissecting each of their comments is a hard task to do, and in the end, might end up being futile because one or two may end up slipping up (and you don't realize until it's too late); you target at their reputation.

        It gets harder for people to hear you after you've been exposed as an idiot. One thing is following a bad guy, other thing is following an idiot.

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

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:20pm

    I'll take 'Don't have a Chu about the internet.' for $200, Alex...

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:27pm

    These people would trap themselves in their own laws

    I half-wish laws like this would be passed just so people like this would be caught by their own rules.
    What would Chu do if someone complained and sued him about his comments? Would he be quick to say that the system is working as he designed it? Or would he complain about the complainer and claim he has a right to say whatever he wants?

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

  • icon
    silverscarcat (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 1:33pm

    Oh joy...

    It's Arthur "It Ends Tonight"* Chu.

    And he uses the "I was only pretending to be a moron" defense.

    Sheesh, that dumbass.

    *While I can't prove he's the one who sent the bomb threats to Washington D.C., the timing sure was suspicious.

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

  • identicon
    Zonker, 30 Sep 2015 @ 2:40pm

    You know what? Fuck Chu!

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

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 6:01pm

    There's gold in them there ISP's

    Ever hear of "joint and several liability "? That's the law that allows a car company to be sued along with the man who negligently pushed the woman's wheelchair into the street, so that the car company pays if negligence is found.

    That's what this is about: the theory is that when someone who is a pauper hurts my feelings by calling me "a pencil-necked geek" I should be able to sue them and the ISP, joint and several, and make the ISP pay me the cool million that the pauper will never have.

    Instead of section 230 being eliminated, it should be spread to other areas of liability.

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

  • identicon
    Scott Malcomson, 30 Sep 2015 @ 6:18pm

    DMCA: Two Minutes Hate?

    Chu's full of it.

    I put a Let's Play --- just ONE episode --- on YouTube. The game included a rendition of a copyrighted song, which the game had obtained permission for use. My "use" was incidental to the LP and thus just as much Fair Use as using the game itself in the video.

    Slapped with DMCA. Challenged successfully.
    Slapped with DMCA from a NEW company. Challeged successfully.
    Again.
    Again.
    Again.

    Each of these DMCAs took a MONTH to resolve because that's how long YouTube gives companies making the claim to file a formal denial of the challenge.

    This went on for a YEAR.

    Finally, sick of it, I sent the company which owned or employed all these OTHER companies a Cease & Desist. Each of their claims had been an illegal claim of copyright on a use for which permission had been obtained.

    They haven't messed with my video since. But that's how long Chu's "Two Minutes" took. Screw Chu.

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

  • identicon
    Flipo, 30 Sep 2015 @ 7:26pm

    Www.xvideos.com started it signing every video.

    Then 9gag.com signing every photo as theirs.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2015 @ 8:49pm

    Chu is irrelevant.

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 12:44am

    Websites like this promote people to think for themselves. That's allowing the dangerous thought crimes to spread further.

    It's terrorism to operate a site like this.

    of course the obligatory note that it is sarcasm. Though I know people that actually think like this and I am ashamed to have them as friends

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 1:56am

    So, let me get this straight.

    This is Arthur Chu, who recently joined in on slandering an author as a racist (with no credible evidence), then when said author posted a heartfelt rebuttal with a picture of his African-American wife and their children, had the arrogance to falsely accuse the author of using his family as "human shields" (his exact words).

    And this guy thinks destroying Section 230 won't come back to bite him in the ass?

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

  • icon
    Gwiz (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:29am

    Too Funny

    Chu posted this on Twitter:
    Arthur Chu ‏@arthur_affect 19h19 hours ago

    Lol the unmoderated comments section on the hitpiece on me immediately goes off-topic into a gun debate bc unmoderated comments

    It never even crosses Chu's mind that the majority here might think his notions are so idiotic that there's not that much to actually discuss.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 9:00am

      Re: Too Funny

      Nah, what never crossed Chu actually is that people do that when they are talking about things with friends over a beer.

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

  • identicon
    HeyNonnyMouse, 3 Oct 2015 @ 1:37am

    Does it seem strange . . .

    that someone who gained popularity by playing Jeopardy doesn't have more of an issue being demonstrably wrong on the facts?

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


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