Chris Maresca 's Techdirt Comments

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  • The Coming Collision Between EU Privacy Regulation And American Free Speech

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 08 Oct, 2015 @ 11:49am


    Unfortunately, there is your idealism and then there is reality. You also have some misconceptions about the US and where the ideas that form the basis of 'your society' actually come from...

    The US was founded by people who fled Europe to escape control and intolerance. Separation of powers is also a fundamental tenant & innovation of the US Constitution. Over the centuries, the founders idealism has eroded and realpolitik has taken over. Which is largely why you see movements like the Tea Party, who want to go back to this idealism (however naive & misguided this might be...).

    The harsh reality, even in your country, is that surveillance is pervasive. You may think intelligence agencies need court orders, but all countries have exceptions to this. And EU countries have even more exceptions than exist in the US.

    Why? Because EU countries have Civil Services - a large body of people who stick around through political transitions and manage the affairs of state. They believe (rightly or wrongly) that they are 'protectors' of the state and institutions and carve out policies to insure this, including extensive surveillance. I've seen it up close working for 3 EU governments and I have been reminded (repeatedly) of the civil service importance in insuring the continuity of things.

    The primary difference in the US is that every new president appoints all of the dept heads down to very junior levels. When a new president comes in, there is wholesale, top to bottom, reshuffle of the government and a very, very large number of 'political appointees' come from outside the gov't and are loyal only to the president. It's very disruptive, but it also is great insurance against what has happened in EU govt's. So, while the US only has two parties, the transformation in the transition between the two is very, very real and dramatic.

    I would also note that the EU civil service problem is made even worse by the fragmentation of EU political parties. That basically insures that there is ongoing role for this permanent bureaucracy to manage the state.

    As far as private companies ability to track you, that is a contract between you and the company. Even in the EU, it's possible to do this (cf. AVG). It has nothing to do with jurisdiction - Google can track you in the EU, even in Germany, since you agreed to this when you started to use their service....

    P.S. Most of what you are advocating already exists in the US - it's even possible to scrub your police records.

  • The Coming Collision Between EU Privacy Regulation And American Free Speech

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 08 Oct, 2015 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Not about privacy

    EU countries have far, far higher rates of spying on their own citizens than the US does. See this article

    Yeah, it's 10 years old, but if you think it's gotten any better, you are fooling yourself. Coupled with ubiquitous CCTV, quite a lot of the EU exists in a surveillance society and most EU citizens couldn't care less. In a lot of countries, it's not even on the political agenda (cf. UK, France, Italy, NL). The Germans are slightly more sensitive to it because of East Germany, but I have yet to see an actual political movement around this.

    In the end, these policies (and the data retention policies) are all about control and access. The EU wants to control the data so that EU intelligence agencies have access to it. And if EU intelligence agencies have access, so do US intelligence agencies.

    I'm not sure what a multiplicity of parties or how your political system works has to do with spying on your citizens, esp. since EU countries have higher surveillance rates than the US with far fewer judicial controls.... But, hey, ad-hominy attacks on the US seem to be popular, so...

  • The Coming Collision Between EU Privacy Regulation And American Free Speech

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 08 Oct, 2015 @ 11:11am

    EU law enforcement & intelligence agencies wet dream

    This decision is a wet dream for EU police & intelligence services. They will no longer have to beg (or go through legal niceties) the US for access to this data, it will right on their doorstep.

    As for the NSA, the two countries through which most of the EU internet connections travel (the UK and Netherlands) are very, very closely aligned with US intelligence agencies and rank at the top of EU countries spying on people. Anything they can hoover up is accessible by the US and I'm sure the NSA will be happy to subsidize more hoovering tech. In fact, the EU is going to make things much easier for them when they legislate data retention.

    As far as 'EU privacy', what a joke. As AVG proved a couple of weeks ago, you only need to have the data located in the EU and tell your users you are going to do whatever you want with their data.

    I'm sure Max Schrems is feeling very smug right now, but he's just made the situation infinitely worse in terms of privacy for both EU & US persons as you won't be able to 'jurisdiction shop' as easily as you can now. And if he thinks he's 'stopped the NSA', well, I have a bridge for sale...

    Coupled with the EU being hell bent on data retention and pervasive and expansive spying on their own citizens, I'm surprised EU intelligence services aren't dancing in the street.

    The EU - the gift that keeps on giving citizen data away....

    (note - not that the US is any better, but at least it's blatantly cynical about it and doesn't hide behind pretend privacy claims. And where is the European Edward Snowden?)

  • KlearGear Apparently Healthier Than Ever, Announces Plans To Start F**cking Customers Through Amazon Fulfillment

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 03 Sep, 2014 @ 01:11pm

    Looks like Chenal Brands == KlearGear

    According to whois - is registered to Megan Tolcher, who is apparently KlearGear's 'Director of Merchandising' (according to this article,2817,2404869,00.asp)

    Interestingly, there is an address in Grandville, Michigan attached to the Whois record, which is for a mail forwarding service... And it's the same address KlearGear has been using.

  • University of Oregon Slaps Student With Five Conduct Charges Over Four Words

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 28 Aug, 2014 @ 09:09am

    Re: Wow

    Maybe I'm an idiot, but I don't understand how the first comment was sexually loaded....

    Seems like a random phrase whose meaning is in the eye of the receiver.

  • Why Do Police In Suburban St. Louis Have More Powerful Weapons Than Marines In Afghanistan?

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 21 Aug, 2014 @ 09:32am

    Re: Total BS

    What they are not carrying is typical riot gear. Shields, helmets that cover the back of the neck, truncheons or other non-lethal 'weapons', fire-proof padded hard-plastic protective leg/arm/shoulder protection, etc. See this image and this image for what real riot police should look like (note the absence of guns).

    It seems to me the are woefully unprepared for crowd control and are resorting to 'force project' and the threat of violence instead.

    Basically, they look, are equipped and are acting as a military combat unit, which, of course, is making things worse.

  • Why Do Police In Suburban St. Louis Have More Powerful Weapons Than Marines In Afghanistan?

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 21 Aug, 2014 @ 09:24am

    Re: Re: A good reason not to visit the USA

    One other note - the police in both France & the Netherlands is significantly better trained to deal with both non-violent & violent protests, probably because these sorts of protests are far, far more common.

    That said, they are also much, much more likely to use a lot of non-lethal violence on protestors (truncheons, whips, rubber bullets, horses, tear gas, water canons, etc) but are equally likely to just hid behind large plexi shields (Roman phalanx-style) while being pelted with stuff.

  • Why Do Police In Suburban St. Louis Have More Powerful Weapons Than Marines In Afghanistan?

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 21 Aug, 2014 @ 09:18am

    Re: A good reason not to visit the USA

    I don't know what country you live in, but I've lived in 7 different countries and it isn't any better anywhere else. In fact, it's significantly worse in many places, including some European countries where national police forces are actually part of military, e.g. the Gendarmerie in France and the MA in the Netherlands.

  • Specially-Designated 'FOIA Denial Officers' Are Handling The Dept. Of Education's Rejected Requests

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 14 Aug, 2014 @ 11:22am


    Easy fix - FOIA Review Officer

  • If You Want To Know How Supporting Techdirt Can Help Shift The Debate In Washington DC, Read This

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 29 Jul, 2014 @ 03:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    One way to fix it is to have stronger institutions. One of the most corrosive aspects of the US body politic is the fact that the President appoints almost all of management in the entire government, many levels down from cabinet secretaries.

    The result of this is that agencies have virtually zero institutional power and are governed basically by people who have 'bought' their way into management positions. And they have zero long term stake in anything since they'll be gone in 4 years and there is no career path.

    Then again, in a democracy you get the government you choose, so maybe this is what the American people want.

  • If You Want To Know How Supporting Techdirt Can Help Shift The Debate In Washington DC, Read This

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 29 Jul, 2014 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, I used to work for the government and the one thing I would say about this is that there are a lot of people in the government trying to 'do the right thing'.

    They are overworked, underpaid, under-resourced and have a political system stacked against them. And they are also under-appreciated by the general public. Part of the issue is that 'doing the right thing' is different from person to person and entrenched interests are experts at exploiting this.

    And because the US system pushes political patronage down to the lowest level of government, there isn't a strong institutional push-back against political shenanigans or constitutionally dubious actions. Never mind that a lot of institutional knowledge & power walks out the door every 4 to 8 years...

  • New York Times Tells Startup It Can't Even Mention The NY Times

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 23 May, 2013 @ 09:21am

    Funny, never new about the multimedia part...

    I read this story on Flipboard (and tweeted a link to it) and it was just text, no fancy graphics. Because of that, I never saw the multimedia bit until just now.

    Just goes to show - what makes a great story is not all the tech wizardry but the actual story....

  • What Happens To Drones When They Fall Out Of The Skies?

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 06 Mar, 2013 @ 02:16am

    In the US

    In the US, items delivered to you (e.g. addressed to you & dropped off at your house/office) by the postal service are your property, regardless of whether they were intended for you or not.*

    It's a strange twist that this person was arrested by the postal police, I wonder if you could argue it was 'delivered' to you, therefore it is yours....

    *this was done to prevent people sending you things then attempting to collect money from for said things...

  • Could Open Source Software Be Put Into The Public Domain Instead?

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 03 Mar, 2013 @ 05:38pm


    Open sourced software using gnu or other similar licensing has some restrictions in that the writer wants compensation when their brilliant (or worthless) contributions are used for profit.

    That's simply not true. No open source license says you cannot use the software for profit, it merely says you have to release your modifications under the same license as the original software.

    This is fundamental and pretty much invalidates the rest of your comment.

    And, BTW -

  • Could Open Source Software Be Put Into The Public Domain Instead?

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 02 Mar, 2013 @ 02:28am

    Re: "Without that free labor..." -- Well, Apple wouldn't have an OS.

    I'm not even going to try to fully debunk your points because it's obvious you know little or nothing about how open source works in practice. Here are, however, a few things that showcase your deep, deep lack of understanding about contributors, copyright & licensing.

    1. The largest contributor to the Linux kernel recently was MSFT (yes)
    2. 90%+ of all Linux committers (and not just in the kernel) are paid to do so, e.g. it is part of their jobs.
    3. Among the largest contributors to open source in the last 15 years has been the finance industry. For the first 8 years of this period they ACTIVELY avoided any attribution (and mostly still do).
    4. Most formal entities (companies, gov'ts) prefer to contribute projects with more 'liberal' or zero licenses, although this has been changing in the past 5 years.
    5. Copyright is the basis for open source licensing and the mechanism by which all open source licenses are enforced.
    6. 'Public domain' is the natural state of information. There is no other state unless you assign licensing terms. Note that 'public domain' does not necessarily mean that no one has a copyright. Never mind that copyright did not exist until about 200 years ago when the first laws granted it to creators...
    7. AFAIK, there is only one country in the world that specifically allocates copyright as a 'natural right', eg. where copyright is a birthright, like free speech or the right to vote and cannot be given away.

  • Could Open Source Software Be Put Into The Public Domain Instead?

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 01 Mar, 2013 @ 07:16pm

    A professor who knows nothing of the real world...

    Disclaimer: For almost 10 years (from 2001 to 2010), I owned a firm that did open source strategy for almost all of the top tech companies (IBM, Intel, TI, Oracle, MSFT, HP, Google, Motorola, etc) as well as 3 of the top 5 banks in the US & UK, four national governments, 4 cabinet-level US gov't agencies, over 60 startups, including Facebook & eBay, plus foundations such as the Linux Foundation & Grameen Foundation. Needless to say, I have a _little_ knowledge in open source vs the real world....

    1. The professor completely mis-understands why open source exists - it exists because of free speech, not free beer. And the licenses are there to insure that the speech remains free, much like the US constitution guarantees freedom of speech. The genesis of this idea is that, in the early 1980's, some programmers realized that quite a lot of community knowledge in the craft of software production was being lost because code was not 'visible' to newly minted programmers. Worried about this trend, they came up with the radical idea of enforcing continued public availability of community knowledge through licensing. This radical notion eventually came to be branded as 'open source'. It is not about a community _producing_ software, it is about the knowledge related to _how_ it is produced being open & freely available. That knowledge, in software, is transmitted primarily through through source code.... The side effects of easier extensibility, crowdsourced development, communities, etc. are side-effects of this licensing model, but are NOT the primary reason for it. Public domain cannot achieve this (cf. tragedy of the commons) - it was the locking up of public goods (in particular EMACS) that cause people to think of this very model.

    2. That corporations and their lawyers don't understand open source is pretty much completely untrue. All F500 corporations have policies in place for the usage of open source and it is very well understood. It's so well understood that there are streamlined approval processes in most F500's that actually make it FAR easier to deploy & use open source than other types of licenses. Why? Because the licenses are all STANDARD - every GPLv2 license is exactly the same as every other GPLv2 license (etc). This is vastly different than proprietary licenses, each one of which is different and HAS to be vetted by legal... There are other issues related to using open source in commercial environments (support, IP isolation, etc) but legal issues due to licenses are definitely not one of them.

    Suffice it to say that this assistant professor has thought up an intellectually interesting thought that has zero bearing on the real world....

  • CNET Reports On Losing CES 'Best In Show' Powers, But Hides Byline

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 03 Feb, 2013 @ 02:18am

    I dropped CNET from my daily read

    Suggest you all do the same. A massive drop in readership is the best outcome of this fiasco.

  • VLC Multimedia Player Shows Changing Open Source License Is Hard, But Possible

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 31 Jan, 2013 @ 09:09am

    Not unique, not the first

    Mozilla was the first very large OS project to this about 10 (?) years ago. It had far more contributors (in the thousands), so it was a lot harder.

    Interesting story, but really not news - pretty much everyone in the open source community knows what it takes to change licenses, a number of project have done so over the years.


  • Charles Carreon Keeps Digging; Now Targeting Lawyer Who Is Seeking Legal Fees [Updated]

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 22 Jan, 2013 @ 03:16pm

    Re: Re: Denial that Inmann has a superior Intellect and played people like a game


    It should read:

    "You remind me of a Frank Chu sign."

    Reading all this inane random writing is apparently affecting my ability to generate cogent sentences....

  • Charles Carreon Keeps Digging; Now Targeting Lawyer Who Is Seeking Legal Fees [Updated]

    Chris Maresca ( profile ), 22 Jan, 2013 @ 03:14pm

    Re: Denial that Inmann has a superior Intellect and played people like a game

    You remind me on a Frank Chu sign.

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