from the cops-and-robbers dept
As details emerged about what happened between the feds and Lavabit, it won the operator of the email provider plenty of good will from the community, and it won the government even more antipathy. Our most insightful comment of the week comes courtesy of Scote, who questioned the government's actions from a slightly different angle:
Can the government legally force a business to commit fraud? That is what they were asking Lavabit to do, to fraudulently proclaim to provide security while, in fact, doing the opposite. Would Lavabit get that "Telco Immunity"? Or would he, as a mere email provider be subject to prosecution for lying to the public if he followed the government directive?
Meanwhile, when the transit police chief in Philadelphia acted surprised that nobody helped a cop under attack, an anonymous commenter won second most insightful comment of the week by offering him a little clarification:
Two things come to mind:
1. Police regularly say you shouldn't get involved in an altercation - that's their job. By not getting involved, all of the people were doing exactly what they had been told to do.
2. Never talk to police. Anything you say can and will be used against you. Calling 911? You're talking to police - don't do that.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, let's track back over those two stories and highlight one more comment from each. First up we've got Sunhawk with a simple but much-deserved hat-tip to Lavabit's Ladar Levinson:
Hats off to Levison; that's the kind of principle I would like to see in my email provider.
And in Philly, we've got another anonymous commenter taking an even more direct route in explaining why the cop didn't get any help:
Respect works both ways.
When law enforcement starts respecting citizens' rights, maybe citizens will start respecting law enforcement.
For the cops that think it will end in their favor, here's a hint: There's a lot more of us than there are of you.
Over on the funny side of things, first place goes to another anonymous commenter for his endorsement of the Red Cross' request for video games to start including war crimes punishment:
One thing that has always annoyed me about the so-called-realism in modern gaming, is the lack of subcommittees.
And in second place, we've got Mark Wing, pointed out that if the government still hasn't responded to the petition to pardon Snowden, its priorities are a bit messed up:
Maybe it would get an answer if the petition referenced the Death Star in some way.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we've got two more anonymous comments. First up is a reminder about the perils of View Source in a world with the CFAA:
"If you're using Firefox or Chrome and don't mind browsing in HTML-cluttered text, you can even use this link to navigate to the FTC site map and navigate from page to page in source-code view without triggering the redirect."
Careful - isn't that hacking nowadays?
And, last but not least, there's an important consideration about the notion that the "NSA Stores All Metadata It Collects For At Least A Year." Since the agency has redefined both "stores" and "collects", we may need some additional semantic (or cosmological) scrutiny:
Can we confirm their interpretation of "year". Which planet specifically?
That's all for this Earth-week, folks!