cabal’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Mar 20th, 2012 @ 1:02pm


    In case you can't see it through your rose colored glasses, kids were rude and entitled in the "good ol' days" too. You boomers are infamous for flaunting the traditions of your parents. You committed crimes, and rejected the establishment. You writing treatise like 'Steal this book'. You invited terrible chemicals in to your bodies and called it spirtual growth. You flaunted your sexuality and begat a scourge of STDs across the country. Then you sold out and bought in with even more vim and vigor than your parents.

    And funny enough, the world didn't end. And if you felt 'enttiled', well guess what: You WERE. Want to know why? The YOUNG are entitled to the future. By definition it belongs to them. As for the 'entitlement generation' you and yours embraced your entitlement and passed it on. If you don't like it, don't blame us. We didn't get a lot of choice in how we were raised.

    tl;dr Your lawn. I'll stay off it now. Our interwebs. Will you do us the same favor?
  • Feb 28th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    Re: (as Cabal)

    For the same reason prisoners pay attention to the moods of the guards: If you don't, the consequences can be painful.
  • Feb 16th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 15th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

    Thanks for answering Jeff`s question
  • Jan 10th, 2012 @ 2:21pm

    Re: (as Cabal)

    Laws are relative topics, not absolutes. Using that standard, the DMCA IS a great law... when compared to Pro-IP and SOPA.

    Of course, by that standard Newt Gingrich was a GREAT congressman when compared to Lamar Smith. That both of them suffer in comparison to most inanimate objects is simply not relevant.
  • Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: Re: You mean Hollywood inflates the numbers to suit its own interests? (as Annoyed)

    I demand this quote be removed. This is blatant trafficking in copyrighted material.

    Wait. Leave it up until we get ePARASITE passed.

    Carry on.
  • Oct 31st, 2011 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re: (as Cabal)

    That's cute! You think just because you possess the physical media you 'own' it.

    Cosby was right! Kids say the darnedest things(tm)!
  • Oct 4th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

    Re: (as Annoyed)

    AC, I'm jealous. I'd really love to get paid to run counter-spin. Where can I sign up?
  • Sep 30th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Re: (as Cabal)

    And refuted with the first line of your link:

    " people can openly discuss or criticize government policy or conduct of public agents without fear of being charged with a seditious crime"

    Let me repeat that for the cheap seats:


    While 'eavesdropping' isn't 'treason' or 'rabble rousing', the obvious intent of this application of the law is to control the ability of people to refute, challenge, or highlight conduct issues of public officials.

    That there is any 'grey area' in this debate boggles my mind. At its root, the question is "Does a police officers' right to 'privacy' outweigh the rights of a citizen to speak out on the policies or conduct of the government without fear of reprisal,".

    Considering the Supreme Court is extremely reluctant to establish a blanket right to privacy this should be a no brainer.
  • Sep 19th, 2011 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Illegal Downloading Supports Child Porn (as )

    I challenge you to find one case of infringement EVER filed on child porn. Just sayin.
  • Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: (as qabal)

    Thanks for making that clear, AC: at 10:1 ROI (not counting non-box office profits), you can only pay back the people who took the BIG risks. I think we can all remember how risky this movie was to produce and how unlikely the audience was to embrace it.

    But you're absolutely right, we just don't understand equitable accounting. Besides all those actors were just 'work for hire'... they don't deserve any of the benefits of original contribution. Like investors do.

    The question I have is: Does this system work like the RIAA? If we asked Harrison Ford, would he say that he's never seen a residual check? Or is it just the Prowse's of the world who have neither clout, nor a legal staff, who catch the shaft?
  • Mar 30th, 2011 @ 8:51am

    Re: What a bunch of garbage! (as Meh.)

    This man's experience with the 'joys of going to the theater' is similar to his understanding of the copyright infringment issues: he once read some talking points.
  • Mar 16th, 2011 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Paranoia...?

    "It's what? No the government's role is to create a stable structure in which commerce can exist, not to have anything to do with commerce itself"

    -- Really? I didn't realize we were discussing the Aristotlian ideal of a government, or that I'd suddenly been transported to an Adam Smith fantasy 'laissez faire' land. The US government (and most others) specifically regulates taxes, imposes tariffs, trade restrictions and a number of other efforts in order to create a positive advantage for national commerce. When examined at thier core, most laws provide benefits explicitly for commerce. Heck, supporting commerce is in article 1 of NASA's charter.

    "and its role is not to protect consumer rights, but to protect all the rights of its citizens without any prejudice to a subset."

    Ahh. My mistake. I guess institutions like the FDA, FCC, OSHA, FAA don't exist to regulate the relationship between consumers and providers. And apparently some citizens are not consumers, so I guess they would be a 'prejudiced subset'. Modern governments exist to define thier own limits and the relationship between consumption and commerce. Everything else is window dressing.

    "No, they really shouldn't. Not without the permission of everyone involved and certainly not with the help of the government without permission."

    It's a good thing the government doesn't award research contracts and publish results. Or publish census data, or publish resources or economic reports or resource or labor statistics or national comparisons or reports on how the laws of other countries are impacting the sale of our intellectual property. By the way, many of those things use YOUR data (at the very least in aggregate form). Without your explicit permission. Would it be so unreasonable to consider this data would be accessible with at least the same level of controls as national tax data (which can be published in 'anonymous' groups small enough to identify individuals)? At no point did I suggest willy nilly letting a national database of genetic information be posted on teh web for any and all to utilize. Any effort to imply so is disingenous at best.

    "Every good usage I can think of for such a database doesn't involve knowing who the person you are studying is."

    Well, it's probably a good thing you're not in charge of research and development. But just because you can't think of a good reason doesn't mean there aren't any. Many of our most profound innovations are derived from someone else identifying uses for something someone else discovered and determined to be 'useless'.

    "I choose not to give them another weapon against me thank you they are already significantly and sufficiently well armed."

    Ok. So you have the 'fear'. But, like I said in my post "what other consequences can you envision that would outweigh the conceivable benefits of a genuine database containing the minutae of the human genome?" I'm not asking if you have an uneasy feeling in your gut. Your gut is full of excrement. You can choose to listen, but the advice typically stinks.

    I seriously don't understand the resistance to this. It strikes me as similar to the 'fear' of a national ID plan [which typically is heralded by calls of 'the number of the beast!' or 'One World government'!]. I want to understand... but it strikes me as a Tofflerian 'Future Shock' evaluation rather than a rational stance, full of emotional but semantically null arguments that illustrate an fear of change.

  • Mar 15th, 2011 @ 12:56pm

    Re: The plight of the legume...

    Interesting card to play, old bean.
  • Mar 15th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Paranoia...? (as Qabal)

    I’m surprised at the knee-jerk reaction to this article. I expect this forum to be a bit more nuanced when discussing subjects like this… especially when the crux of this argument is around the freedom of information. I can't help but think the question, and many other similar ones, will guide the next century and our definitions of ethical management, social responsibility, privacy, and utilization of technology to solve currently unsolvable issues. We might as well talk about it now.

    Personally, I question the efficacy of a nation DNA database to solve crimes… but I suspect it would be a neutral to a slight positive impact in identifying previously anonymous criminals (although I think it would do wonders for identifying John/Jane Does). Assuming that no inviolate freedoms were abused, the act of identifying and addressing law breakers with some level of increased precision is a good thing. Further, data is useful. Non-anonymous data is even more useful. A comprehensive DNA database, tied to real world performance data (wage income, medical records, education history, employment, criminal participation) concievably opens up a whole new world of analysis to benefit any science defined by genetics or social dynamics.

    Like virtually all scientific research, these tools and data can be used in fashions which the creators never anticipate. Many circumstances would lead to outcomes which are negative, and worst case scenarios ('the government will frame me!') are easy to identify and have an emotional argument which often can’t be answered by rational ones. However, there needs to be a rational argument divested of those challenges. Yes. It concerns me the government (any government!) would have this information. But the government already maintains enormous databases of similarly valid personally identifying information (PII). Most governments are already harvesting DNA from at least one class of the population… so the issue (in general) isn’t a problem with harvesting DNA for cross reference and analysis, but that it is widespread and without a mechanism to opt out.

    I don’t dispute there are some very real forseeable consequences: It’s very likely the uninformed will attempt to use this information to pass legislation that is stupid… but that’s going to happen no matter what. The best we can hope for is better and more accurate information to make stupid, ill informed decisions from.

    It’s conceivable this information could be used for eugenic experimentation. So can your gross physical attributes and birth records. Which are collected by virtually every civilized nation in the world.

    The chance the government (or an ‘independent’ employee) can frame you does increase. Slightly. Considering that I can collect the DNA for virtually anyone I have personal access to it’s not horribly challenging to plant that kind of evidence if you’re motivated. And as Assange has proven, if they want you they’ll get you. Pro tip: the real world doesn’t work like Hollywood. Stop watching so much ‘Chuck’ and find a reason that wouldn’t appeal to Glenn Beck.

    Private companies would work to use this information to drive their bottom line in any way they can. And they should. However, and this is a critical point, one of the roles of government is to facilitate improvements in commerce; and conversely to protect consumer rights. While there are sometimes egregious examples of governments failing to do this, I stipulate that most ‘civilized’ countries do a remarkably good job at this. (If you disagree, I’d be happy to have a side bar conversation discussing the strides which have occurred over the previous century).

    The question is why are some of this audience so violently against the collection of DNA? I’m not going to trot out the venerable cliché, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” we all know it’s a logical fallacy. However, what other consequences can you envision that would outweigh the conceivable benefits of a genuine database containing the minutae of the human genome? Don’t get me wrong, there are concerns and risks. They are inherent to any technological advance and the law of unintended consequences virtually guarantees there will be results no one could ever have anticipated.

    However, when you open Pandora’s box there’s no going back. We have the capacity. There are valid reasons to do this work (even if the stated one isn’t probably the best). This means we’re going to get there eventually. To paraphrase Mike, information is both valuable and has a desire to be ‘free’. Efforts to pretend that this information somehow qualifies as ‘magic’ and ‘inviolate’ are self delusional, if not outright Luddish.
  • Aug 6th, 2010 @ 10:44am

    Re: The Obvious (as SetecAstronomy)

    In a way that's true: there's very little scarier than a true democracy. Your average citizen isn't exactly a paragon of learning, morality, and ethical behavior. Government is often the brake against runaway self interest.

    It's why this country has NEVER had a democracy on a national level. It's why the states initially had the power to select thier own senators, and the electoral college still exists: the unwashed masses as a group are stupid, greedy, self absorbed and reactionary.

    As for the internet being a 'true democracy'... well, it does provide a 'voice' for anyone that wants one. But it also can make it look like a handful of voices are actually thousands. Like a democracy, it tends to push demagogues to the forefront of the conversation (because reasoned argument is BORING for an audience which is largely looking to be entertained).

    So, in short, while I'm not one of the 'powers that be'... a 'true democracy' scares the bejesus outta me too.

    With that said, I'm for Assange. Secrets have a power of thier own, and the belief you can act in secret tends to corrupt those who operate in that space. Does it concern me individuals may be endangered by the release of this information? Yes (although, probably not as much as a number of 'secret' informants). But in all honesty, I strongly doubt this is an issue of 'national security', but more one of 'national credibility'.

    State department cables have a tendency to discuss our allies as well as our enemies, and often, the conversations can sound pretty similar... including intelligence on and analysis of thier capabilities. Not to mention, diplomats lie. Embarrassing, and sometimes tough to recover a workable relationship.

    'Course, wouldn't be an issue if they operated with integrity at all times. Which is why I'm a fan of Wikileaks. If lack of integrity were an aberration we wouldn't need technological shield services. But it isn't, and we do.
  • Apr 16th, 2010 @ 6:08am

    Dunno about you, but my gut is full of... (as Cabal)

    I'm kinda staggered by the number of people that either didn't RTFA, or just assume they understand what this is about (and I include the author of this article apparently).

    Karl, while I understand where you were going, you totally misrepresented the purpose and intent of this technology. This isn't 'crime prediction software'. You can't hook this tool up to Google, and suddenly have an email pop out and say "Go to the corner of 12th st and Main. Wait three minutes, then arrest the teen with the red ball cap on. He's going to rob a liquor store tomorrow."

    This is a predictive analysis system. Kinda like the ones that hospitals are starting to use to flag potential child abuse visitation patterns. The intent is to actually USE the hundreds of thousands of individual case histories to try and rationalize the present, and perhaps, just perhaps get a little better at helping kids in the future.

    Does this tool have the potential to be abused? Sure. But in an environment where Corrections systems dollars are thin, isn't it in our best interest to use analytics to determine where to spend time and money? Otherwise, the situation remains unchanged: a bunch of overworked, underpaid civil servants poring over hard copy and relying on thier 'intuition' on who deserves the most help, and what help to give them.

    Dunno about you, but my gut is full of . It's not the place that literally life and death decisions should be made... at least, not if you can help it.
  • Apr 16th, 2010 @ 5:46am

    Re: (as Cabal)

    Because, as was pointed out several times, this is a _juvenile_ effort. The intent is to identify 'at risk' individuals and attempt to intervene in thier development.

    The unstated assumption is that if you can mitigate the potential for criminal behavior in the formative years, the behavior will not persist in adulthood.
  • Apr 6th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    I don't work for free... (as Cabal)

    I gotta say, I hung out here for at least a year before I published my first anonymous comment. I then posted perhaps another dozen over the next year. I recently registed, and now have a profile, but it was only because you made it worth my while... (and tickled my vanity, by allowing me to see all of my anonymous posting tied to my email address --).

    There were a number of places I used to comment, which have eliminated anonymous commenting. I don't comment there. And frankly, I don't visit them as much anymore... because it offends me to give that business something (my comments, which have a debatable value) and be charged for it.

    Ah, but registration is free you say? Ah, but it takes me time to complete the form. And, it provides my information to the business, a resource which is often exploited for economic gain. Instead, I don't comment... because I'm not paying you so that I can add value to your product. Eff off.

    So, thanks Techdirt. I dig you guys. It seems like every time I turn around, you're doing something to make this place a little friendlier, a little better, and darnit, it seems like you like me, you really like me.

    I however will keep asking: can we get a thumb up/thumb down and a user configurable option to set thresholds for hiding strong down comments?
  • Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:00pm

    Re: (as Cabal)

    Hahahahaha. The future is being designed by and for the control freaks. Without trying to sound like a paranoid teabagger (tea partier, whatever) the days of anonymity are rapidly approaching thier end.

    Today, most forms of 'anonymity' are public 'anonymity'. Unless you take countermeasures, anyone with a court order is likely going to be able to figure out who posted it.
  • Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    Missing the point (as Cabal)

    Ahhhh, Mike. Did you get suckered, or do you really think this lawsuit is about who has the better product?

    These lawsuits have very little to do with merit at all. This is about advertising. The commercials are expensive to produce, expensive to air, and have many associated costs every time it shows. But it costs you nothing if your commercial is shown on CNN or network news. It costs you nothing if a blog links to a YouTube video of your commercial. It costs you nothing to have the 'public' hold an 'informed' conversation on the merits of your product.

    The art of the press release and the lawsuit go hand in hand. If a lawsuit is accompanied by a press release, it often is a part of a greater marketing strategy. It's also fairly cost effective, especially when you consider the company already funds a litigation team. A few filing fees, and WHAM you’ve got a million dollar ad campaign handed to you. Gratis. Free.

    Even better, in mass market media, the conflict is the story. Almost no one runs follow up stories when the lawsuit settles... so win, lose, draw, it cost you some lawyer time you were already paying for. What did you get in response? If you're lucky, a full news cycle of running your commercial for free and people genuinely discussing your product. If you’re unlucky, no one cares. The subliminal impression is the company filing has been wronged (reinforcing the key message), and the competitor is a liar (reducing the power of their ad buy).

    In their defense, it’s free, largely high quality word of mouth advertising. It also reduces the perceived quality of their competitors, while improving the perception of their own. When name recognition is often the most important factor in a buying decision, a few repetitions may be the difference between a new customer. Investing in the network on the other hand costs a fortune, and doesn't yield significant improvements in customer base… because more often than not it's not about offering the best product... it's about generating the best buzz.

    And… the best reason of all… they do it because it works.

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