Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the isolated-discourse dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is That Anonymous Coward with a response to our comment about how copyright filters work:

No this is the way copyright filters work when the law is completely unbalanced in favor of one side.
No penalties for being wrong.
No penalties for lying.
No penalties for assuming everything belongs to you.

Corporations have proven time & time again they can not be trusted. They have lied, claimed the sky is falling and the government keeps rewarding them with larger umbrellas for their actions.

One wonders what would happen if we used the corporations estimates of the damage they might suffer as the basis for an award to people silenced unfairly.

In second place, it's Richard M responding to the the US Navy's firing of a captain who expressed his concerns about the coronavirus:

Chain of Command Problem

I am hearing a lot the he should have done this via his chain of command rather than including others in his letter.

I call bullshit on that one. They only reason he would have sent the letters out was if his superiors were not taking care of the problem.

This is a guy that is charge of a aircraft carrier. That is not a post they give to just anyone, he was a highly regarded carrier officer. There is no way in hell he would just jump out and start sending letters like he did unless the people above him were failing to take care of the situation like they should have.

From what I have read and considering there is probably no evidence one way or the other his superiors were more worried about keeping staffing up than making sure the sailors were safe.

His point about not being at war does seem to be addressing this exact issue. Since we are not currently in a shooting war. Did the navy think having the carrier down for a week or two before they could replace the crew was going to cause some country to attack us? Seriously?

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from Stephen T. Stone about another person getting fired for telling the truth, in this case the Inspector General who brought the Ukraine whistleblower complaint to congress:

If telling the truth about your boss can get you fired, you’re being fired not for telling the truth, but because the boss didn’t want you telling the truth to anybody. That should tell you a lot about the ethics of your boss — and your own ethics, if you choose to play along, and especially if playing along puts lives (including yours) at risk of injury or death.

Next, it's Sok Puppette with a close look at the EARN IT act:

Hmm. It actually may be worse than that, because it appears to apply beyond what you'd think of as "platforms".

The recklessness and "best practices" requirements are applied to all providers of "interactive computer services". The definition of "interactive computer service" is imported by reference from 230. That definition is:

The term "interactive computer service" means any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such systems operated or services offered by libraries or educational institutions.

The part about "system... that enables computer access" sweeps in all ISPs and telecommunication carriers, as well as operators of things like Tor nodes. And "access software provider" brings in all software tools and many non-software tools, including open source projects.

Under 230, those broad definitions are innocuous, because they're only used to provide a safe harbor. An ISP or software provider is immunized if it doesn't actually know about or facilitate specific content. No ISP and almost no software provider has any actual knowledge of what passes through or use its service, let alone editing the content or facilitating its creation, so they get the full safe harbor, with minimal or no actual cost to them. And anyway nobody has been after them on 230-ish issues, so including them doesn't hurt.

Under EARN-IT, those same definitions would be used to impose liability, so now those parties actually get burdens from being inside the definition. That's worse than a repeal of 230. It doesn't just remove a safe harbor; it opens an avenue for positive attack.

This commission could decide that it's a "best practice" for ISPs to block all traffic they can't decrypt. Or it could decide that it's a "best practice" not to provide any non-back-doored encryption software to the public, period.

Or, since those might generate too much political backlash at the start, it could start boiling the frog on the slippery slope by, say, deciding that it's a "best practice" not to facilitate meaningfully anonymous communication, effectively outlawing Tor, I2P, and many standard VPN practices.

Then it could start slowly expanding the scope of that, possibly even managing to creep into banning all non-back-doored encryption, without ever making any sudden jump that might cause a sharp public reaction.

Back on the platform side, over time the rules could easily slide from the expected (and unacceptable) "best practice" of not building any strong encryption into your own product, to the even worse "best practice" of trying to identify and refuse to carry anything that might be encrypted. Start by applying it to messaging, then audio/video conferencing, then file storage... and then you have precedents giving you another avenue to push it all the way to ISPs.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is an anonymous response to someone who thought the signatures on the arrest warrants for reporters that Jerry Falwell Jr. managed to get issued looked a little sloppy:

I could understand how dealing with someone like Falwell could lead one to drink....

In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone with a response to the red light camera company that says coronavirus is killing its business:

I can sum up exactly how I feel about this news with one emoji: 🎻

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous commenter providing an amusing addendum to the story about paranoid people burning down 5G towers:

The idiots in Birmingham didn't even burn down a 5G cell tower, it only had 2, 3 and 4G.
https://twitter.com/tomwarren/status/1246829900880850950

Finally, we've got one more response to the US Navy situation, which ultimately resulted in the resignation of Acting Secretary Thomas Modly, and while I admit I don't entirely see the connection to the clip that Bobvious linked, I'm enough of a Blackadder fan that I had to include it:

The USS Barbra Streisand

Manned by a Modly crew.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Jo-8ObCqs0

That's all for this week, folks!


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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 12 Apr 2020 @ 1:53pm

    earn it..

    reminds me of Use it or lose it.
    And how SOME nations have restricted the internet tot he point that Hidden servers are used to get info in/out of a nation.
    Anyone willing to start one?

    Then lets get to a REAL point.
    Do OUR LAWS, over ride those of other nations? And are we going to ADD this to all our 'Trade Agreements'??

    then on the Off' end of this. Is a strange little fact about Imports and what is restricted int eh USA, NOT by the gov. But by the corps. Then the thought that Trying to get a CHINA made product into the USA, that ISNT allowed by the corps. Like a REASONABLE prices digital Video recorder that can record your TV/Cable/most inputs and then copy them to DVD/BR disks for your Own Use(??)..or abuse.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Apr 2020 @ 2:05pm

      If they criminalize anonymous use of the internet

      Then they will drive internet use underground. And all communication will look like background noise mixed in with Perfectly Innocent Content.

      We have technology now to do this. We don't use it right now, because why? So like a bunch of our extreme-end encryption it's not yet very user accessible.

      But once we have users wanting their porn (and they're already trying to stop porn) we'll have engineers gleefully writing the front end so that everyone installs it. Because anonymity and encrypted communications are served by being submerged in other anonymous, encrypted communications all of which look like static.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2020 @ 2:43pm

    Given the closer reading by Sok, this bill doesn't just run up against the 1st Amendment but crashes right into it and even more considering the introduced version of the bill will require these "Best (read: Worst) Practices" to be passed by congress in full which would amount to the government regulating speech for 1st Amendment purposes.

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

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 12 Apr 2020 @ 3:36pm

    The USS Barbra Streisand

    Prince Minibrain: I say Blackadder, why would anyone think that SECNAV Modly had to "apologize for any confusion this choice of words might have caused"?

    Blackadder: Well, my suspicions were first aroused by his used of the words "too naive, and too stupid", and now there are tremendous rumblings in social media, although that might be something to do with the gibberings from the White House.

    And while we're here, RIP Tim Brooke-Taylor
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AthqBXzM03o

    and a nod to Tim's friends from Monty Python
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNoBo4UJ6jM

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2020 @ 4:22pm

    Chain of Command Problem

    I have to agree with the answer provided that the commander of the aircraft carrier did not just up and jump the chain of command for no reason. He wasn't dumb, he put it in public only after his chain of command failed. As a commander, his duty is not to waste his troops unnecessarily. He did his duty when his chain of command failed to address the issue of protecting his troops.

    That his troops applauded his speech before leaving is a mark of what those under his command thought of him. Applause is not so readily given those under the command when the commander does not warrant it. A bad commander will receive little or none as the command is glad to be rid of such. On the other hand, the crew that believes in their commander and knows that as much as possible he has the service members best interests at heart as much as he can, does receive accolades.

    The fact that the Acting Secretary resigned over the choice of his words tells you two things. One is that the Acting Secretary was not familiar with the conditions on board and jumped to conclusions unwarranted given the situation. The second goes to the heart of the matter that the cover up of trying to make it go away by ignoring it fell on the correct shoulders. The only shame in this is there were a lot of middle men that did not go with him but were left in place.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Darryl, 13 Apr 2020 @ 12:28am

    Trump miracle cure

    I thought it was funny that only leftists are refusing to be served the Trump Miracle Cure. Very funny. They’d rather die then give Trump the respect and admiration he clearly deserves.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 12:38am

      hydroxychloroquine?

      What miracle cure is that? As Trump ever offered any product or policy that actually did something?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2020 @ 12:54am

      Re: Trump miracle cure

      Roll up, roll up, Dr. Trumps Miracle Cure All is only available while stocks last and the greatest Doctor is still in town.
      This never to be bettered bottle of amazingly beautiful pills will have you feeling great again, along with huge respect and admiration from your fellow men, women and children.
      What do you have to lose with Dr. Trumps Miracle Cure All?

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 2:20am

        Re: Re: Trump miracle cure

        What do you have to lose with Dr. Trumps Miracle Cure All?

        Your life.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 5:11am

          Oh, like Trump supporters care about that.

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 9:39am

            Re:

            The lives of others perhaps not, but their own lives? I imagine that might get a bit more weight in any internal deliberations, though I suppose it's still possible that such consideration would be sacrificed on the altar of 'Trump Can Never Be Wrong'.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2020 @ 2:07am

          Re: Re: Re: Trump miracle cure

          Didn't Trump tell the African-Americans voters that just a few years ago before the election (vote for me, what do you have to lose?), and now they & the Hispanics & all the other poor people are losing their lives in a greater percentage than the wealthy, despite the wealthy travellers bringing it into the country in the first place. Poor people can't afford holidays, especially to other countries, yet they carry the greatest burden in loss of life, health, employment & housing. It should be interesting to see if they swallow the same crap again from Trump later this year.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 1:56am

      Miracle Cure

      Anyone who uses this oxymoronic phrase in a serious way can be dimissed as either a scammer, a fool, or a troll. Which one are you?

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2020 @ 3:31am

        Re:

        Who are you, the “word police”. What an asshattery you are.

        What I heard is that the miracle cure has two steps: first, make sure people don’t die, that’s the malaria drug. Second, make sure everyone either keeps their job, or gets a better one, that’s the “re-open America” plan. A combination of phases that starts with higher salaried workers, combined with free job training for higher salary jobs. The result is that the American population will be stronger and richer after the pandemic than before.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 4:12am

          1. No serious scientific proof (again: the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”) backs up the idea that hydroxychloroquine can/will treat people with COVID-19 to any effective degree.

          2. No drug can “cure” a broken economy that works primarily for the benefit of the currently wealthy, a broken healthcare system that focuses more on profits than on people, and a broken man sitting in the Oval Office who cares more about his own hold on power than he does about the lives of the people for whom he was elected to serve.

          3. I’m not the “word police”. But I’m smart enough to know that anyone offering a “miracle cure” for anything is a bullshitter of some kind.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2020 @ 4:32am

            Re:

            And I will explain another part of the miracle cure, since you seem especially stupid. The healthcare system is already being fixed with telemedicine. Less expensive healthcare. Better outcomes. Better jobs. Trump, Trump, Trump 2020! I love America! A better and brighter future, because of one great man! Who’s the Democratic opponent again? Biden? Cuomo? Nah!Trump 2020! Dr. Trump! Dr. Trump!

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2020 @ 4:47am

              Re: Re:

              Fixed? Telemedicine? Most of the people likeliest to be affected by the virus aren't smart enough to find their mobile phone's on switch.

              The rest of your explanation is the sad whimpering of a guy who couldn't prove he invented email and spent thousands of dollars on a judge that couldn't help him do it. That wound from the loss against Elizabeth Warren is stinging hard, ain't it champ?

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Apr 2020 @ 5:09am

              The healthcare system is already being fixed with telemedicine.

              No, it isn’t. “Telemedicine” can’t, on its own, reduce prescription drug costs or move the U.S. into Medicare For All (i.e., socialized healthcare like pretty much every other developed country has). It can’t make insurance companies and hospitals give more of a damn about saving lives regardless of the financial costs. And it won’t fix the problem sitting between here and a future where those things aren’t issues at all: politicians who lack the spine to take on the rich and powerful within the broader healthcare industry (e.g., CEOs of corporate pharmaceutical companies).

              Dr. Trump

              Donald Trump is not a doctor of any kind, but especially not a medical doctor. Referring to him as one makes you a liar.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2020 @ 2:26am

                Re:

                Me thinks that the original Dr. Trump bit was sarcasm, trouble is these days when taking the piss out of Trump, who not only went to university, but owned one too, so could be a self-annointed one as he has self-annointed himself as everything else that gives his ego a boost, unless it is marked as sarcasm it could just be sadly real fandom drivel.
                People who don't like Trump have always considered him to be a snake-oil salesman who travels from town to town promoting his brands, products & companies he either owns or has shares in, such as the company that produces the 'miracle cure' and he shows no sign of ever stopping. The giveaway is when he projects what he does onto others, such as calling the media purveyors of 'fake news', when that is all he has ever done on his TV shows, in business & now in government.

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


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