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  • Sep 4th, 2015 @ 9:59am


    I thought they, too, supported CETA? (What do the polls say about Harper's government anyway: will he win or lose?)

  • Sep 4th, 2015 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Reading comprehension much?

    Perhaps people are talking about different kinds of "finished"? First the text was to be finished in English (suggested to be July this year), and then it had to be translated into 24 languages, approved by various governments and agencies, and finally ratified in the spring of 2016. So when is it finished: when nothing can be changed about the text any more (Juny 2015) or when it is ratified (spring 2016)?

    Do you remember what she said exactly at the conference, about which kind of "finishing" she was talking when she said July (of whichever year)? Ratification was clearly impossible by July 2015, but finalising the English text between the negotiatiors only might have been possible in theory?

  • Sep 2nd, 2015 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    *should not try to patch up their mistakes

  • Sep 2nd, 2015 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    At your first point: that may be true, but then it is in direct contravention of Internet neutrality. If you buy electric power from me, you should be allowed to use it for whichever device you prefer, since the cost of power is the same to me, the power plant, regardless of which device you use it on. I am not allowed to force you to use the power I supply for one purpose or another: only the total quantity used (or perhaps the time and place) matters.

    At your second point, it is the carrier's problem that it is trying to effect price differentiation. Just as with geo blocks. If the cost of 2TB of mobile data is too high for the carrier, which it very well may be, then they should limit the total data used, not try some trick and tell people how to use their data.

    For privacy, anyone might use a VPN on his phone. Then a carrier has no idea what the user agent is, whether you tether through the phone or load the web page directly on your phone.

    What it comes down to is that big companies attempting price differentiation and exposing themselves to risks that way (overuse) should stop complaining and offer prices that are based on true cost, not marketing silliness. And they should try to patch up their mistakes by violating Internet neutrality.

  • Sep 1st, 2015 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, that is exactly what I was saying. There is no direction relation between data caps and congestion, and data caps are by no means proportional to the carrier's costs. To quote myself: "just stop using those stupid caps".

  • Sep 1st, 2015 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re:

    But perhaps, while still supporting TPP in general, they will strongly object to many clauses, making it much harder to reach agreement with other countries?

  • Sep 1st, 2015 @ 9:47am


    No, measuring total data usage is easy. The problem is not that those users use too many data, but that they use them for things that T-Mobile doesn't like. If they used 2 TB of data only on their phones, then theoretically T-Mobile would be fine with that; but instead they use their phone and its SIM as a modem for their computer, so their computers access the Internet exclusively through their phone's plan. The result is that they use 2 TB, which would be almost impossible to do on a mobile device with normal usage (but quite possible on a normal desktop computer).

    T-Mobile cannot see which devices the data end up being used on, since all data go through the phone first, and T-Mobile can't see beyond that point.

    With Internet neutrality, that shouldn't be a problem, because data are data, and it shouldn't matter what you use them for. However, T-Mobile has taken the risk of basing its prices not on cost but on what is marketable: unlimited data sounds nice. If you pay a fixed price for unlimited data, at some point your usage might be so high that it costs T-Mobile more than the fixed price you pay. T-Mobile gambled on this never happening, because in practice it is nearly impossible to use so much on a phone. I believe 1 GB costs tens of cents, so you'd have to use maybe 200 GB to cost T-Mobile more than the $80 you pay them for unlimited. However, if you tether your computer to your phone, that can happen.

    What T-Mobile should have done is offer limited data at $80, but set a high, attractive cap, let's say 100 GB. Then offer 1 TB for $800, 10 TB for $800. Or just stop using those stupid caps and simply charge the cost price plus a nice profit per GB, so e.g. 50 cents per GB, no matter how much you use. If you use more, you pay more.

    One other thing to consider is that the cost of data usage is highly variable; one GB is much more expensive than another. When the network is not congested, the cost per GB for T-Mobile is low. What costs them the most is keeping the throughput at an acceptable level, the capacity of data per second. Building new towers, new cables, new interconexions, and maintaining it all, that sort of thing.

    So it would make the most sense to charge a fee per GB dependent on how congested the tower is that you're using at the moment; if you use data at night or at places where there is plenty of capacity, your usage won't cost them much extra over what they have to pay anyway to maintain the system. But that would make your bills very complicated. So perhaps you should be paying a fixed monthly amount for maintaining the system plus a small amount per GB used.

  • Aug 14th, 2015 @ 4:04pm


    That is true, but then why doesn't America see ISDS as a court that makes binding rulings for them?

  • Aug 13th, 2015 @ 3:52pm

    Re: Re:

    To be fair, it *is* worse if you spy on your own people compared to spying on people in foreign countries. I'd rather have e.g. China spy on me than my own government, since China has no real power over ordinary citizens in other countries. Being spied upon by an "ally", like America, is in between (I'm Dutch).

  • Aug 13th, 2015 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That's easy enough to answer

    Really? And which party does not support TPP? And how about CETA, do they all support that too?

  • Nov 8th, 2014 @ 5:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, but it would make the most sense if all certificate authorities published lists of which domains were allowed to use which certificates. (Presumably, few domains would need to use more than one certificate.) So, if the domain suddenly required not its usual certificate from Verisign, but a certificate from Chinesegovernment, the browser should say, nah-uh, that authority is not in my list for this domain. Similarly, the browser would not accept a certificate normally used for a website of the American government to authenticate a website of the Chinese government.

  • Oct 25th, 2014 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Now I get it

    I'm sure the media have a hand in it. But why, if so many things are wrong with the American government, do the American people not vote them into oblivion? The article calls it "voter apathy", but then what is the cause of this? That is the question, I think.

    Part of a possible answer may be the fact that there isn't much to vote between. Only two parties stand any chance of winning seats, and people hate voting for a sure loser: they vote "strategically". And this in turn is largely causes by the winner-take-all system of elections, where only the biggest party in a district or state gets all the latter's representative power.

    This could be partly solved by making elections for President, House, and Senate all proportional: all citizens in the entire country vote for whichever party or person they prefer, and in the end the parties each get a number of seats proportionate to the number of votes they received.

    As a result, it would be far easier for a new party to enter Congress, so more parties would be represented there. If you are, say, in favour of economic liberalism, but also concerned about the environment, you have no party who represents your points of view at the moment; but, with proportional representation, such a party might emerge. And the current government shut-downs and fiscal cliffs, which seem inevitable when you have only two parties, will disappear.

    As an additional benefit, super PACs and election spending are less effective if you abolish winner-take-all. In the current system, suppose there are two candidates for a post, the Democrat at 48% and the republican at 52%. If nothing changes, all representative power will go to the Republicans. But if you spend just enough money to sway the results by 3 percentage points, suddenly the Democrat gets 51% and the Republican 49%: 100% of representative power has been shifted through your fairly moderate spending. In theory, you would only need to spend enough to affect 50x3 percentage points (one per state) of the voters across the country to achieve a 100% power change. That is a cost of 150 percentage points total.

    If, however, there were proportional representation, your 3x50 percentage points would only get you a 3% power change in the country as a whole (simply 3 percentage points per state equals 3 percentage points for the total number of seats a party will get). In short, the winner-take-all system provides campaign spending with a huge amount of economic leverage, which is undesirable.

  • Oct 16th, 2014 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Read and think critically before you post

    I'd say it is up to the German courts to determine how to deal with Vattenfall's projected losses fairly and responsibly. No need for undemocratic foreign lawyers with huge conflicts of interest.

  • Aug 5th, 2014 @ 9:19pm

    Re: If there is ever a just case for this kind of decision...

    First, this is not really a foreign company, but a Russian company. So "foreign investors" is a bit of a leap: partly foreign shareholders?

    Secondly, Yukos was mostly bought by Chodorovsky for 310 million, even though it was probably worth far more. Putin is of course horrible, but, in a way, Chodorovski and the shareholders stole this money from the Russian people through corrupt officials, and they do not deserve the 50 billion either:

    "[O]wnership of some of Russia's most valuable resources was auctioned off by oligarch-owned banks... Although they were supposedly acting on behalf of the state, the bank auctioneers rigged the process-and in almost every case ended up as the successful bidders. This was how Khodorkovsky got a 78 percent share of ownership in Yukos, worth about $5 billion, for a mere $310 million..."

    Third, if this had been a Western company wronged by the Russian government, the more desirable situation would be for its country to stick up for it, not enabling a few very rich people to get an arbitrary amount of money from a country through an arbitrary tribunal. As in the WTO, it should be country v. country, if anything.

    Lastly, in general, I think nationalisation and otherwise depriving foreign companies of assets or profits is not always so bad per se, especially if the company's interests legitimately conflict with those of the country. And companies are free not to invest in a country that might do this. So do we need any mechanism at all to fight this?

  • Jul 30th, 2014 @ 6:44pm


    At least he is on his way out: a new Commission will be installed soon (so far, only the President of the Commission has been chosen).

  • Jul 13th, 2014 @ 7:07am

    (untitled comment)

    We have good public transportation in Holland. It just requires some money. Of course it is better in areas with a denser population, but you can still reach most remote locations in the country in a few hours by bus. Like healthcare, education, etc., it is considered a minimum requirement for the state to give to those who need it. Additionally, it is better for the environment if you get people to take the train rather than go by car. And it makes the cities less ugly if there are fewer parked cars everywhere.

  • Jul 13th, 2014 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Futile?

    Another (conspiracy) theory that has been offered is that the GCHQ-NSA had installed hardware backdoors in the systems of the Guardian and wanted to destroy the evidence. It sounds a bit far fetched...

  • Jul 7th, 2014 @ 10:28pm

    (untitled comment) (as Cerberus™)

    Use the extension Greasemonkey in Firefox. Find the userscript Enable Context Menu (I think that's what it's called, I am now in my mobile) and install it. Et voila! You can disable it at will and per domain. It is best disabled on websites that have (useful) context menus of their own, like Google Maps.

  • Jul 6th, 2014 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hmm any idea why Hamburg, specifically?

  • Jul 6th, 2014 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re: paper copies?

    I don't think it is about de-indexing the link altogether: I think it is only from the results if you search for the person's name (and nothing else), so it can still show up for a slightly different search term. Still, a horrible ruling, of course.

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