I went to the steps of the Alameda County Courthouse this spring, and bid on a real estate auction on behalf of a friend who had been foreclosed. I was gonna rent her place back to her in a win-win.
Can't say I'm thrilled about being recorded, if I was.
The auction was a very strange experience. Some very shady looking characters hanging around, then suddenly they all coalesce and start bidding millions of dollars. But they are all just frontmen (like floor traders at a stock exchange). Each had a clipboard of the properties for the day, a phone and headset, and were in constant contact with the real buyers during the actual sales. They seemed to make no decisions themselves, but just relayed info.
Shockingly, one needs cold, hard cash (or similar instrument) and must prove (show) it to the auctioneer just to bid. The total amount of money on the courthouse steps was impressive, given about a dozen homes sold for over $500k each. The reps generally bid every house, with varying levels of motivation. I only bid for the one.
"The evidentiary record here confirms that Defendants did not speak at a volume loud enough for an undercover agent or an FBI cooperator to overhear them."
I personally found the volume of the auctioneer to be a particular problem for me. As a newb, I didn't know the process, and there was scant help available. So I wanted to hear everything. That required very close proximity.
As for the other bidders, the absolutely took steps to mask their conversations over their telephones, so as to reveal as little information to the rest of us as possible.
As for expectation of privacy, it's the COURThouse steps. Should we not expect a lot of discussions between lawyers and their clients all around the courthouse? Lots of privileged conversations surely happen there. Further, I reject Judge Hamilton's opinion that any public place negates the expectation of privacy:
Electronic age or not, the expectation of privacy should be based on HUMAN experience and human perception. Would she obviate my right to privacy in my home simple because a laser mic pointed at my window can hear me from across the street? While the state of technology does define a spy's ability to hear us, it does not define our RIGHT to privacy, WE do that.
My remaining questions are whether I was the victim of some kind of collusion or collaborative bidding? What was the FBI after? Seems unlikely since I got outbid in the end, so the asset owner (the bank) got more money than I though the property was worth.
I think it's important to establish the following point in caps to our anonymous friend:
Given: A free market is good.
THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT CAN INTERFERE WITH A FREE MARKET, not just regulations.
Others examples: monopoly monopsony dirty dealing/crime/racketering/coercion/intimidation lies, false marketing information dis-symmetry systemic advantage of incumbents over new entrants
So, if regulations can target fixing market failures, they can be an improvement. Take for example, the Schumer Box (no, not the thing below Amy Schumer's belt that she jokes about all the time), her uncle's namesake box on credit card applications that require banks to offer clear, concise information about the finance terms, which allows consumers to choose better. This regulation addresses information dis-symmetry between banks and customers, preventing them from disguising higher rates with confusing presentation. So, it's good.
I think a lot of people, like this AC, think that "Free market" means "a market with NO regulations", and that's wrong. A complete lack of regs does NOT automatically result in the economist's idealized "free market". Many things can go wrong, so we NEED rules to optimize the outcomes.
"When it comes to recordings, law enforcement has proven repeatedly it's not up to the job"
Whether the police are deliberately deleting video and covering up evidence, or if they are simply incapable of recording, handling, and backing up video data is irrelevant. It is clear the responsibility for doing so should not be in their hands.
Is there some way for a neutral third party to record this data, providing it freely like in a good FOIA process?
You seem to be searching for absolutes. You have incorrectly guessed the absolute is: TD thinks regs good, free market bad.
That is the opposite of the default case at TD. So you are just wrong.
But also, TD does not comply with your desire for absolutes. TD will never say: "All regs are bad". That's too much of a simplification. Thus, in some cases, regulations are considered good. At TD, this is generally in cases where the regs "correct" a free market that has already been distorted by some other factor (ex: monopoly control, information dis-symmetry, overkill intellectual property ownership, markets that favor incumbents and block entry of new entrants.)
You are harping a lot on the FCC regs. These regs are praised here, yes. The market for fixed broadband is NOT competitive in the USA. UNE-P was a reg that fixed it, but it was shot down in the courts, so we're back to too much market power in the hands of incumbents. Net Neutrality and Title II regs are not perfect, and nobody here said they were. But do they make things better, or worse? We think better. But do we love regs here? Not really. If you actually read the articles, I'd bet that over 80% of them that praised the Title II also CLEARLY stated that a better solution than regs would be "more competition."
Techdirt consistently argues in favor of a freer market, more competition, and regs ONLY for the sake of fixing market failure.
It's because the lobbying is so much cheaper and so much more effective per dollar spent that it never ceases.
One of the good arguments that libertarians make is that we're so large as a nation, and that large governed groups mean that money spent lobbying and controlling government will sap away money that should have been directly invested in production.
I don't agree. Did Hillary use her own email account to send/receive emails from ANY official account? Because, if so, her email practices would certainly come out under any investigation that reviewed the other people's email.
Which is predictable, and..um..is what happened.
If she were devious enough to deliberately use her own email to avoid FOI, then she would also be clever enough to never send or receive any message from any official account.
What you propose is like a cheating husband using his "burner" phone to call his wife to see if he should pick up milk.
Is something often -and only- uttered by some jerk with a team of people doing and managing their email and communications for them.
He most certainly DOES "do email"...at least as much as he "builds hotels", in the sense that other people print them out, highlight the easy words, and reply on his behalf. His cluelessness is hardly a virtue.
Please don't imply that winning in court proves something is just or correct.
There remain the options that: 1 - our laws had unintended consequences 2 - our laws have intended consequences, but were manipulated and are not just 3 - the court messed up 4 - the full legal process is not complete 5 - relevant evidence was suppressed 6 - one side successfully lied or faked or suppressed evidence
etc, etc. Sure, a trial is legally conclusive, but OJ got off, and lots of innocent people are in jail. False positives and false negatives abound.
Here's reference on Powell actually taking the big telcos side of the UNE-P debate:
"While Commissioner Martin supported all provisions of the order, the two other Republicans on the FCC, Chairman Powell and Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy...both supported exempting broadband from unbundling...The two Democrats, Copps and Adelstein...both dissented on exempting broadband from unbundling requirements."
-Shaping American Telecommunications: A History of Technology, Policy, and Economics; By Christopher H. Sterling, Phyllis W. Bernt, Martin B.H. Weiss
There's a lot more to this, of course. Things like the boom and bust of the late 90s through 2002; things like the first court case against the 1996 Act that the FCC won in 1999. The Powell argument was always that "UNE-P means that the premise-based telcos won't invest in their networks anymore." Which, on the surface is logical. But I think the evidence of Europe vs. the USA has since stacked up to prove Powell was either a shill, or just way fucking wrong.
I think you're trying to put the blame on Clinton here (I may be wrong.) But the Telecom Act is more of an FCC thing than a Clinton thing.
And, moreover, it was GOOD for competition. It was the Telecom Act of 1996 that brought us UNE-P - The plan for Unbundling Network Elements. In plain English, that means separating the copper wire in the ground from the incumbents, and letting any other competing ISP lease that copper.
The result was the immediate flourish of DSL, and always-on broadband for the first time to consumers in the USA. We had a rush of new entrants, Covad being the most recognized names, but there were MANY. These competitors COMPETED with the incumbents for our DSL business, and prices were dropping, while services were improving.
This spurred the cable companies into responding, so they came out with DOCSIS and Internet over their lines, which actually turned out to be a "fatter pipe".
Things were going quite well under the 1996 Act. Which was not appreciated by the big telecom players. They sued to quash UNE-P.
Unfortunately, "both the UNE Remand Order and the Line Sharing Orders were remanded by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in United States Telecom Association v. FCC, decided on May 24, 2002."
2002...Hmmm...who was the FCC Chairman at the time? Powell, you say? How hard do we think the Powell FCC fought the big telecom operators in court to protect the competition that the 1996 Act brought citizens? Not hard - Powell actually argued on the incumbent's side in the debate.
In conclusion, as far as laws and regs go, the 1996 Telecom Act was FUCKING GREAT for the citizens of the USA. But it was gutted under a willing FCC Chairman Powell. You've gotta be pretty blind to not see that this man was always in the pocket of incumbents, and singly set US telecom competition back more than a decade.
Since I am a political man, I'll point out that the Dems and the GoP were consistently on opposite sides of this short history. You'll hopefully note where your angry letters should be sent.
Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!
Aside from the entertaining AGW debate (it's real, idiots!)...
There HAS been an example where people had real and serious cable/isp competition. Lots of examples, in fact.
Look at any market in Western Europe. The UK or France, for example. They took the US idea of UNE-P (letting companies like Covad compete over the incumbent's in-ground copper). While during Powell's tenure, we lost UNE-P in the USA, Europe ran with our idea. What happened?
ISP bundles at 20 euros ($22.41) including: - phone, free calls to international - aDSL - Cable TV content, 150 channels with DVR
The fact that they just kept repeating this request over and over, regardless of counterpoints is a probably part of an organized effort. It uses element's from one dear leader's große Lüge theory, that if you just repeat the lie over and over, people start to believe it.
The result of their organization and repetition will doubtless be that one of the Copyright Office's MAIN take-aways will be "There seems to be consensus around the need for notice and staydown."