Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the broadband-in-broad-strokes dept

This week, we've got another first place winner for insightful from That One Guy, who also notably took seven out of the top ten insightful spots overall. The top comment was an excellent response to the many ludicrous claims about the public's broadband needs:

Saying that no one needs a 25 Mbps connection because a single user/service won't use it completely is rather like saying that there's no point in building multi-lane roads or highways because a single car will never be able to take up more than one lane.

In second place, we've got an anonymous comment on a related topic: the States that are beginning to realize how self-serving AT&T's protectionist broadband legislation has been. As this commenter noted, that really should tell you something:

Government, local or otherwise, isn't exactly noted for efficiency or economy, so if they can provide broadband cheaper and more efficiently than a huge ISP with all the economies of scale... Well, you've got to wonder just how many hundreds of percent profit AT&T is making on their crap, don't you?

For editor's choice on the insightful side, since That One Guy dominated the leaderboard, it seems only fair to include one more of his comments. This time, it's an attempt to cut through the crap of the repair monopoly created by anti-circumvention provisions:

Pick One

Companies should be limited to two options:

1) License

They aren't selling their product, they are only licensing it's use, in which case they are legally barred from referring to the transaction as a sale, maintain limited rights over the product such that they can prohibit people from fixing or modifying it themselves, but are also required to do so themselves within the scope of the license(product breaks, they have to fix it, customer loses their copy they have to replace it).

2) Sale

Product has been sold, and the company no longer has any rights or control over it, other than limited rights with regards to things like prohibiting reproductions and sales(not to be confused with re-selling the product, which is allowed). Customer is allowed to modify, change, give away or sell the product as desired, and the company has no ability to stop them. At the same time, the company has no obligations beyond the point of sale, such that if the product breaks unless it's under warranty they don't need to fix it, if the customer loses it they have no obligation to replace it.

Next, we head all the way back to last week's comments post, where David had an observation about the sorry state of copyright:

Isn't it fun that Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is now in the Public Domain and everybody can send around copies while Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech will likely never be legally copyable?

That's the way we build our future.

Over on the funny side, first place goes to an anonymous commenter on our post about the latest wacky legal threat to hit Techdirt, and our response to it. One commenter had an excellent suggestion:

You guys should sell popcorn in the Techdirt store.

In second place, we've got rw with a response to our call for ideas about the TSA's potential response to the laptop bomb in Somalia:

All laptops must have their batteries removed and shipped separately to the destination ... or wherever the airline decides to send it.

And in the spirit of crowdsourcing, this week's editor's choice for funny features two more predictions. First, it's Mark Harrill with a terribly plausible vision of wild overreach:

TSA will check your laptop for downloaded music and send a compiled list to the RIAA for billing.

TSA will check your laptop for downloaded TV shows and movies and send a compiled list to the MPAA for billing.

TSA will check your laptop for downloaded books and send a compiled list to the Big 5 publishers for billing.

TSA will check your laptop for TOR and will send your information to the DEA for inspection. Also, your laptop will be confiscated and sold on Ebay as seized property.

TSA will check your laptop for VPN and encryption software and will send your information to NSA, FBI and CIA. If you are using full disk encryption, you will be detained until you decrypt the drive and they can copy the contents.

TSA will ban taking all electronic devices bigger than their hand onto the airplane. Such items must be checked, for which the airlines will charge a fee to ensure their safe return. Use of the electronics on the airplane at any time will make you subject to arrest, fine and general ridicule.

And finally, it's Anonymous Anonymous Coward with a "multivariate solution":

I predict that the TSA will enhance efforts to cross breed octopuses with emus and bloodhounds. The resultant being will be an eight armed search engine that can sniff out whatever the handlers desire to take home while keeping its head buried in the sand.

That's all for this week, folks! Techdirt is off tomorrow for President's Day, and back to our regular posts on Tuesday.


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  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 14 Feb 2016 @ 6:03pm

    Taking data on aircraft

    Me, I just make a compressed bit copy of my HD data to an encrypted micro sd card, and put that in my sock so I am walking on it through security. Think they can detect it? Not very likely with current tech! So I wipe all but the basic OS from my laptop drive - nothing to see here dudes! I just restore it when I get to my destination hotel.

    Anyone caught with porn going through airport security is an idiot and deserves to be caught, arrested, and prosecuted! Me, I don't have porn with me, but I do carry company proprietary data - that is my job after all. Even with encrypted drives, I can still be forced to input the decryption password so they can copy the data. No data? No problem!

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 15 Feb 2016 @ 8:34am

      Re: Taking data on aircraft

      Anyone caught with porn going through airport security is an idiot and deserves to be caught, arrested, and prosecuted!

      For what? Porn is legal.

      Even with encrypted drives, I can still be forced to input the decryption password so they can copy the data.

      That depends on jurisdiction; I think some circuits have decided the 5th amendment protects you from that and others have ruled the opposite. Of course, there's little chance a TSA drone will have any clue about that, they just think because they have a badge, you have to do whatever they say.

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 15 Feb 2016 @ 8:40am

        Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

        After a little research it seems it's more complicated than that - hardcore porn may or may not be legal in the US, and importing porn is illegal.

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

      • icon
        Groaker (profile), 16 Feb 2016 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

        What does "legal" have to do with anything. Many actions that are perfectly "legal" will get your stuff forfeited or destroyed, and you detained, harassed, beaten, arrested, charged, tried, convicted or murdered. If you read Techdirt, you should know this.

        Here is a current case in point where a citizen recorded cops in public (legal,) and warned of a checkpoint (legal,) yet got 240 days for it. Was immediately remanded to jail, and the Judge indicated the sentence should have been far worse.

        https://photographyisnotacrime.com/2016/02/12/ohio-man-sentenced-to-240-days-for-recording-cop s-and-holding-up-sign-warning-drivers-of-dui-checkpoint/

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 16 Feb 2016 @ 9:52am

          Re: Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

          What does "legal" have to do with anything.

          Spiff said anyone carrying porn through an airport deserves to be arrested and prosecuted. I'd say whether porn is legal is extremely relevant to the question of whether that person deserves to be arrested and prosecuted. Wouldn't you?

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

          • icon
            Groaker (profile), 16 Feb 2016 @ 10:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

            When a SCOTUS judge can't provide a legal definition of porn beyond "I know it when I see it," I don't know what porn is either. With the possible exception of Kiddie Porn, which is illegal, and if they ever existed outside Law Enforcements fervid imaginations -- snuff films.


            But that does not stop LEOs from arresting anyone for acts which are perfectly legal. Even the courts have ruled that to be the case. Charging, prosecution, trial, sentencing and incarceration are a little bit much, but it happens every day. I was in voir dire when I saw a judge make up a law to harass a fellow prospective juror. Fortunately, the ADA and Defense Atty jointly excused the juror.

            My point is that it doesn't matter much whether a violation of the law exists or not. You can still be punished for breaking imaginary laws -- whether with imaginary porn or something else.

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

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 16 Feb 2016 @ 1:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

              I don't disagree with anything you said, but you still seem to be misreading the original comment. My earlier reply has a critical word bolded which completely changes the context. Nothing you just wrote really answers my question, or has anything to do with what Spiff or I wrote.

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

              • icon
                Groaker (profile), 16 Feb 2016 @ 3:16pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

                I suspect that we are talking about two different facets of the same problem. There is no "legal" or ethical basis for punishing anyone possessing written, sonic or pictorial depictions of consulting adults engaging in sexual activities. No one deserves to have any more notice taken of this by the authorities, than say a book on how to build your own patio.

                My point is that the law has become arbitrary and capricious in its application. That it no longer has meaning other than causing pain through the the ability to wield raw power over others. That "deserve", "appropriate", "commensurate", "culpability" and similar terms have lost all meaning in the exercise of present day law. That law today has been reduced to letres de cachet without the need for the letter or the signature. The exercise of position, wealth, class, race and power have taken the place of justice.

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

          • icon
            Groaker (profile), 16 Feb 2016 @ 7:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

            Erotica, with the few exceptions I noted, is legal. So sayeth the Supremes. Calling it porn doesn't make it illegal. There may be statutes on the books of some states and municipalities that claim it is illegal, but they have no more force of law than the anti-miscegenation laws of the 1800s.

            SCOTUS has ruled that the First Amendment applies to erotica, and that is that, unless of course you are opposed to the concept of the Bill of Rights.

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

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 17 Feb 2016 @ 8:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

              SCOTUS has ruled that the First Amendment applies to erotica, and that is that, unless of course you are opposed to the concept of the Bill of Rights.

              I don't think it's that simple.

              "The United States Supreme Court in Miller v. California discussed pornography (which it referred to as "sexually explicit material") in terms of obscenity, which it held did not enjoy First Constitutional Amendment protection"

              "Relying on the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act and under the terms "obscene" and "immoral", the U.S. Customs and Border Protection prohibits the importation of any pornographic material"

              "The absolutist interpretation of the First Amendment as applied to pornography has never been sustained by the Supreme Court."

              " in Jacobellis v. Ohio Stewart concluded that criminal obscenity laws are constitutionally limited under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to hardcore pornography. Concurring in the 1957 Roth v. United States Justice John Marshall Harlan II wrote that "even assuming that pornography cannot be deemed ever to cause, in an immediate sense, criminal sexual conduct, other interests within the proper cognizance of the States may be protected by the prohibition placed on such materials." "

              "In May 2005 U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales established an Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. The task force, according to a Department of Justice news release on May 5, was "dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of the distributors of hard-core pornography that meets the test for obscenity, as defined by the United States Supreme Court." Under President Bush's and Gonzales' rationales the FBI Adult Obscenity Squad was recruited in August 2005 to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of adult pornography."

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography_in_the_United_States#Legality

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

              • icon
                Groaker (profile), 17 Feb 2016 @ 12:58pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

                You are speaking of old laws, and a task force set up to provide sexual satisfaction for those who can't admit to experiencing it any other way.

                Gonzales is meaningless. Nothing more than a condom pocket for a war criminal.

                It is obvious that such methods have bit worked, as there is no dearth of erotica available today. There is something seriously wrong with people who want to control the sex lives off others. Here is a beauty.

                http://boingboing.net/2015/12/16/cop-who-demanded-photo-of-sext.html

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

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 17 Feb 2016 @ 2:07pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

                  You are speaking of old laws, and a task force set up to provide sexual satisfaction for those who can't admit to experiencing it any other way.

                  Court cases mostly, and if I'm not mistaken they are still binding precedent.

                  It is obvious that such methods have bit worked, as there is no dearth of erotica available today.

                  I'm not arguing it's working. I'm not arguing it should be outlawed. I'm not commenting on the motivations of anyone. I'm saying I'm skeptical of your blanket claim that all porn/erotica (outside of CP) is always legal in the US. That seems overly broad at best, and outright incorrect at worst.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2016 @ 1:07pm

      Re: Taking data on aircraft

      What if they make you take your socks off ...

      What if you say you don't know the password. It's a company micro sd card and only your company knows the key and they won't tell you and they're not within the reach of the search jurisdiction ...

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2016 @ 6:36pm

        Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

        If you're going to lie, I'd opt for a lie that can't be exposed with one phone call - even if that means it's more absurd. How about: "I forgot the password and now I carry it in my shoe as a lucky charm."

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

    • icon
      Groaker (profile), 16 Feb 2016 @ 7:54am

      Re: Taking data on aircraft

      1) You still stand the chance of being strip searched.
      2) The SD card can shift in you sock, and become damaged and unreadable.
      3) Far easier and safer to put a copy in a cloud or private account from where you start, read it back when you are where you want to be. No messing around with dirty unreliable physical objects.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 16 Feb 2016 @ 10:03am

        Re: Re: Taking data on aircraft

        "Far easier and safer to put a copy in a cloud or private account from where you start"

        This. I have been doing this for years, and recommend it. I don't do the cloud, but I do keep a personal file server that I can access securely. I keep nothing on portable devices that are sensitive or that I can't afford to lose.

        I started doing this not because of surveillance, but because I travelled a lot and couldn't take the risk of losing data because a laptop got lost, stolen, or broken.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2016 @ 7:24am

    I totally missed the cotopus/emu/bloodhound crossbreed on the initial story. So glad we have the recap because that one got me laughing.

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 16 Feb 2016 @ 3:13pm

    Lies, Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

    But he was also one of the first to use the Paris attacks as an opportunity to attack actions taken by tech companies to "undercut" intelligence capabilities, as well as claim Snowden's leaks were resulting in terrorists routing around surveillance efforts.

    The bogus terrorists now use "encryption" and it is all Edward Snowden's fault meme that is being propagated by various US intelligence organ directors (eg Comey, Alexander) and their political surveillance state doppelgangers (eg Clinton, Feinstein) has been completely debunked countless times.

    The sentence below was excerpted from The Intercept:

    U.S. Mass Surveillance Has No Record of Thwarting Large Terror Attacks, Regardless of Snowden Leaks

    Jenna McLaughlin

    Nov. 17 2015, 2:19 p.m.

    In fact, there’s no evidence that the NSA’s extraordinary surveillance dragnet, as revealed by Snowden, has disrupted any major attack within the U.S. ever.

    https://theintercept.com/2015/11/17/u-s-mass-surveillance-has-no-record-of-thwarting-large-terr or-attacks-regardless-of-snowden-leaks/

    It really is such a shame to interrupt the mass psychosis clearly afflicting those ensconced within the US government and it's security apparatus as listening to various US officials and authorities while they continuously make pronouncements that are in direct contravention of reality serves to expose them as the know-nothings (or criminal) they truly are and helps to destroy whatever credibility they may have remaining with the general public.

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


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