Well, those blasted Senators, they are just starting to listen to their constituents about the massive invasion of privacy that they don't like due to the programs that they let expire that the administration can't say is making us less safe. MR. EARNEST seems to be very good at making long vaguely accusing sentences that don't answer the question but do point the finger somewhere else for letting a very expensive program expire that has no evidence of doing anything. An extremely huge piece of the problem is that "supposedly" these programs are protecting us, you know, the citizens of the US. However; us little kiddies are just too untrustworthy to know anything about all of these extremely expensive programs we have to pay for anyway. What I get out of that interview is that MR. EARNEST wants all of the 1st graders that are asking him the hard questions to just shut up and pay his expensive salary, BECAUSE, he know's better than us based on the non-existent evidence they can't show us, because, you know it would make us less safe (only they can't say so).
P.S. Am I getting any good at really long vague sentences that don't really say anything?
Law enforcement agencies are servants of the Citizens and yet are being allowed to hide contracts from the ones they serve?
One of the problems I see that is not being addressed is that the police departments are agents of the citizens. They are writing contracts that then hide the terms of the contracts from the very ones they represent. Police departments and other law enforcement agencies are not some independent company. They are representatives of the citizens and are writing contracts as their agents. They SHOULD not be allowed to hide the terms of those contracts and their methods from the very citizens they represent. How do the citizens start reigning in these rogue agencies that are supposed to protect and preserve and yet seem to be more attack and destroy and hide the methods organizations.
If they are going to include the cost of the Internet, they are padding the cost. It is what is called a sunk cost. People already have it. They already pay for it. They will have it whether or not they are cord cutters. Since they want to pad costs, they forgot to add in the cost of the TV, the cost of the electricity, the sofa to sit on, the footstool, and the snacks. Oh wait, they forgot the cost of a router, some LAN cables, installation and, oh yeah, a house to keep it all out of the weather, heat and air conditioning, and a bathroom, the water bill, and so on.
Since the internet connection is already a "done deal", then that cost should be taken out of the calculation. In that case, option A becomes $65 (which is much better than the $210 that Comcast wanted to charge me).
Option B becomes $48, Option C becomes $40, and Option D becomes $20.
Most people who are considering cord cutting already have Internet access for other reasons. The cord cutting is just making more use of something they already have, just using is some more at no additional cost.
When the cost of the Internet service is removed, those cord cutting number look very appealing, especially since most people have a TV (as opposed to a monitor) which already has a tuner built in that the cable companies bypass with their set top box, so get an antenna and use the tuner to get full uncompressed high definition over they air signals for free again (with the already paid for tuner in the TV).
So, let's get this straight, the police think it is NOT ok to record them (you know, public servants getting paid with public money) and so arrest people under wire tapping laws, but Hertz thinks it's OK to record voice and video of their paying customers in the car they rented and it's not wire tapping. Boy Hertz in for a surprise when the lawsuits start hitting.
Well, Of Course there is, in consideration of me, the tenant, paying you, the landlord, an ungodly amount of money every month to live in your pigsty, you, the benevolent landlord, also get to have all of my current and future copyrights in any creative work that I produce.
Actually, if we take his (really stupid) premise that self-driving cars need an Internet connection to work. It will definitely need Net Neutrality to work. Net Neutrality says that all traffic is created equal. As in all VOIP traffic is treated equal and all video traffic is treated equal and all ad traffic is treated equal. NOBODY (except advertisers maybe) want ad traffic prioritized above VOIP traffic. But EVERYBODY wants VOIP traffic prioritized above streaming movies so that phone calls work. If somebody was stupid enough to make a car rely on an Internet connection ALL Internet CAR CONTROL traffic should have equal priority. Which you would want to have a higher profile than advertising traffic. That is what Net Neutrality is about. What we don't want is to have say GM car control network traffic prioritized above Toyota car control network traffic.
Since Superfish intercepted ALL communications that the computers users thought were safely encrypted via SSL (as indicated by the green lock on the browser as users were taught to watch), Superfish could be intercepting Personally Protected Information (PII) that is protected by HIPPA and that protection can't be overridden by a EULA. All they need to do is show that someone was accessing health information or Medicaid information on their computer that was being surreptitiously intercepted and looked at by Superfish to show that they were actively violating HIPPA.
Many of these laws are the result of the "must do something" mentality of a nanny state that doesn't feel like dealing with the big issues like the budget problem. It's just too easy to spend a lot of money to "save the victims" and "protect the little guy" (you know, from the big faceless corporations that we created).
For example, Pai co-wrote an editorial in the Chicago Tribune last week that tries to use Obamacare fears to insist Americans will lose the right to choose their own wireless plans if Title II based rules come to pass:
Everybody repeat after me: "Conflation is our enemy's best friend".
And So, the result of all of this not-deliberately breaking the law
will be nothing, absolutely nothing. The sad state of affairs is that the organizations that were put in place to catch law-breakers, commonly known as criminals, are now so far above the law that anything they do is retroactively OK. As long as they can "claim" it was not deliberate. It's OK for them to be law-breaking criminals, just not anyone they target. That target may not have broken the law (fill in your favorite investigative journalist or their significant other who is traveling through an airport) but they can be hassled into the poor house or even thrown in jail for a while, but since they are not the ones who are supposed to uphold the law, it is bad. If you are supposed to uphold the law, it seems to be OK to break the law, as long as you can issue a press release that basically says "oops", didn't mean it. This is a sad sad time.
A big part of the situation that doesn't really seem to come up in these types of "conversations" is that Google, Apple, and etc. are just preventing the massive scooping up of private citizens emails by encrypting it by default. Since the "terrorists" out there know that this is happening, or at least if I were worried about someone listening in on my conversation, I would encrypt the message before it ever got into an email. Then the provider would encrypt it again "across the wires". The encryption key I used would never be available to anyone else to "provide" to the government. The US Government already tried to make encryption software illegal by declaring it a munition. With open source encryption like OpenSSL and PGP or GPG, the "magic Golden Key" would be discovered and removed. This conversation is just about spying on everybody who doesn't care or doesn't know any better. It is not going to stop the determined terrorist who doesn't want their communications read.
Keep your Friends close, keep your Enemies Closer (paraphrased from Machiavelli's The Prince see http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?t=873681 at the bottom) would be in order here. Talk is just Talk. However; when the talkers are suddenly forbidden to talk about a topic, they can get themselves worked up into action. Not ever having looked at Yik-Yak, I have never really been offended by it. If someone is really that offended then WHY are they spending so much time reading a website that offends them? Do they also hide in their bedroom and flog themselves. It seems like they are going out of their way to read something that offends them. Free Speech is one of the cornerstone of the USA. Please, could they either intelligently respond to the anonymous nonsense, or just avoid it. For all that we know, Winkfield could be posting that nonsense and then pointing it out. After all, it is a totally anonymous site.
I am an independent contractor (in computer consulting where there has been a lot of legal wrangling). I have had to convince client's that I am an actual independent by incorporating my own company so that I can prove that I am receiving a W-2 as well as various other criteria. I did spend a lot of time reading the rules and prior cases. The actual deciding factor seems to be which way the IRS can get more money. In all the cases that have been decided that I was able to read about, after an independent contractor had been in place for a while (sometimes years), the IRS ruled that they were not actually an independent contractor and that the client company owed back employment, FICA and Medicare taxes. The "rules" have many grey areas. If a court hands down a ruling and includes "Bright Line Rules" it means that they have laid out the rules that everyone (not just lawyers) can look at and know how to determine which way the court would rule. One example is that in order to search your house a warrant is required that specifies what the suspected crime is and what evidence the search should find. The police are not allowed to just drive up and walk into your home uninvited and dig around for anything they can find that might indicate illegal activity. A "Bright Line" ruling should eliminate most if not all of the gray areas whether someone is an employee or independent contractor. It could include things like is the person paying all of the correct Federal, State, FICO and Medicare taxes. Is the client company filing a proper 1099 for the contractor (which is a report to the IRS of the contractor's payments, is the contractor working for more than one client, and so on. That way, everyone would know that if it swims like a duck, walks like a duck, has a short neck like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is really a duck and not a swan. The rules as they stand are "subject to interpretation" and the government (and especially the IRS) can make whatever interpretation they want in each case.
The problem with all of these cases where someone takes a position as an independent contractor and then wants retroactive employee benefits is that it is a short term money grab. They didn't like the deal they took and now they want to go back and change the deal (with them getting more money of course). The result of one of these cases should be a "bright line" ruling which declares in advance what are the properties of being a contractor and what are the properties of being an employee. As a real life independent contractor, I don't want the court to suddenly tell me I'm actually an employee. If I hire an independent contractor I don't want to be suddenly responsible for a boat load of retro-active benefits. I sure hope that these court cases with set a precedent and define what a contractor actually is.
Since the FBI seems to send in their own "provokers" to protests to incite breaking in to stores and they "groom" their own terrorists (see all of the stories on both topics in Techdirt), now NYPD just needs to show up with their rifles and machine guns and open fire to get rid of all of those pesky citizens and their lousy rights with just the release of a few clips into the crowds. That will certainly look good on the evening news......
Let's take the Bond character and flatten it. Make the movie from the point of view of say "Q" or better yet, one of the bad guys/girls. Then, Bond is just a flat secret agent stuffed into a suit and not all that important to the new movie.