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  • Sep 23rd, 2016 @ 7:10am

    Who is to say what pictures my grown-up son might eventually come to feel is embarrassing?

    If the rule is that we can't post any photo the subject thinks is embarrassing, then we can't safely post any photos of people at all.

    That's an unreasonable standard.

    If we must have a legal standard, it ought to be whether a reasonable person would think it's embarrassing.

    Few people think photos of naked babies are embarrassing (some think they're obscene, but that's not the same thing).

    Babies don't look much like the adults they'll become. And babies have no choice about what happens to them.

    Probably that's why baby photos can't be embarrassing. Nobody (except maybe the parents) can tell which adult the photos show, and even if one could, whatever is shown in the photo doesn't reflect on the adult.

    Teenagers, of course, can be embarrassed about anything. There's no fixing that.

  • Sep 23rd, 2016 @ 6:58am

    Re: Unfortunately, it is the taxpayers who will pay the price

    Those taxpayers elected the thief.

    They deserve to pay.

  • Sep 21st, 2016 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Idiot

    No, the AC has a point.

    A digital file is just a string of bits.

    If we're serious that "math is not a crime", there should be no forbidden bit strings.

    I'm OK with that. Creating child porn should be illegal. Exploiting children should be illegal. Bit strings - in and of themselves - should not.

  • Sep 16th, 2016 @ 8:26am

    Re: Snowden is done for

    Agreed. (I hope we're wrong.)

    I think eventually (decades) history will vindicate him and he'll get a pardon from some future president.

    But even if that happens, it's not clear the "intelligence community" is really under the control of the executive, or the law. I won't be a bit surprised to see Mr. Snowden have a fatal accident, even after a presidential pardon.

    Even Eisenhower felt the "military-industrial complex" was out of his control as president, and that was almost 60 years ago. Things have only gotten worse since then.

  • Sep 13th, 2016 @ 7:29am

    Re: He doesn't need a pardon.

    Yes, he does need a pardon.

    I think what he did was ethically and morally right, indeed heroic. I think Obama ought to give Snowden the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    But what he did was in clear violation of the letter of the law. So he needs a pardon (or a fair trial, which is even less likely).

    Rosa Parks violated the law by refusing to sit at the back of the bus. It was the law that was wrong, not her action.

    When the law is wrong, doing the morally right thing means violating the law.

  • Sep 9th, 2016 @ 6:37pm

    This is what they're trained to do in j-school

    Professional journalists are trained to worry about “fairness”, not truth. Reality, they are told, is socially constructed, and there is no such thing as objective truth.

    Fairness means reporting “both sides” of a story even when there are 3 or 4 sides, or when it’s obvious who is lying and who isn’t.

    If journalists were interested in truth, they wouldn’t pretend to be impartial (they’re human, of course they have opinions of their own). Instead they’d openly admit their viewpoint and let the reader judge their arguments.

    There are still countless newspapers in the US with “Republican” or “Democrat” in their title. I suspect the relatively high esteem which journalists enjoy is a legacy from the era when these newspapers were founded.

    Before the rise of “professional” journalism in the middle of the 20th century, truth was assumed to exist (even if it was difficult to find), and publishers were proud to announce their political allegiance.

  • Sep 7th, 2016 @ 10:59am

    A screwup

    Somebody at Google messed up.

    They noticed it and fixed it.

    Big deal - is there anybody on Earth this doesn't happen to once in a while?

    I don't see anything Google-specific about it.

    Am I missing something?

  • Sep 5th, 2016 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Situations in which it's notably wrong


    For example, copying and republishing without proper attribution is plagiarism.

    Which is wrong.

    But it's not theft.

  • Sep 1st, 2016 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Anything that can weaken protections for artists

    Despite your stated disagreement, I don't think we really have opposing views.

    If people value things created by artists; - obviously some people value some things created by artists. So at least some of the time this is true.

    If rewarding artists would cause them to create more and/or better things, which results in greater value to people; - obviously this is true in some cases.

    If the increase in value outweighs the cost of the reward to people; - for some amount of reward, this also is obviously going to be the case.

    So we seem to agree that in some cases a reward is appropriate.

    Please note - I didn't say simply "Artists must get rewarded for creating things". That would reward them for valueless things.

    And as for the "must", it's imperative if you think increasing value for everyone, while decreasing it for no one, is imperative. That is, if you think making the world a better place is really important, than this is really important.

  • Sep 1st, 2016 @ 5:46am

    Fantastic sales pitch...congratulations TechDirt!

    What a great sales pitch for the T-shirt!

    I imagine they're flying off the shelves.

  • Aug 20th, 2016 @ 9:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 20th century thinking

    Yes. I am not a child. I said look at "your phone", not at "the phone network".

    Indeed, the telephone calling functionality of modern phones (E.164 et al, harking back to Alex Bell) is already obsolete, and persists only due to momentum and (more important) the ability of service provides to charge by the minute for usage. VoIP telephone ala Skype, Google Hangouts, SIP, etc. are already vastly more advanced technology.

    My point being that modern smartphones have all the functionality such a system needs - always-on Internet access, with strong encryption and endless possibilities for prioritization and customized applications.

    That wasn't true in 2001 when this monstrosity was invented (I was on several of the relevant standards committees at the time).

    But it is true now. If there ever was a reasonable justification for this project (I didn't think so at the time), there certainly isn't now.

  • Aug 20th, 2016 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: 20th century thinking

    Ya, we have that already. Look at your phone.

  • Aug 20th, 2016 @ 8:25am

    Pranksters will just have to be more subtle

    ...hoping the FEC won't notice until too late.

    For example,

    Raymond D. O'Shack

    or... Donald Trump.

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 8:12pm

    20th century thinking

    The whole idea is idiotic.

    It's 20th century thinking - the government needs it's own special network that's going to keep working when the public Internet goes down.

    There are only 2 conceivable scenarios when such a thing would even be useful:

    1 - Some enemy attacks and brings down the entire Internet in the US, as the Russians tried to do to Estonia in 2007.

    2 - Somebody in the government thinks they will "turn off" the public Internet in the event of some emergency - terrorism, civil war, rebellion, etc.

    Re #1, even Russia couldn't do it to tiny Estonia. (Not that they didn't cause trouble, but the Internet didn't ultimately go down.)

    And if some enemy did succeed, then they've already won the war - without the Internet the US is a dead duck. No commerce, no hospitals, no nothing - everything is dependent on a working network. Without it there is no country to defend.

    Re #2, this is paranoid fantasy. Even if the US government tried to "turn off" the public Internet, even if they had legal authority to do it, even if the NSA hacked into routers and tried to break them - they couldn't.

    Because of #1. Because virtually all of the economy is dependent on the network working, political pressure wouldn't let them turn it off. Too many powerful people would lose money. And even if they tried it anyway, it wouldn't work. Network techs and service providers would be under so much pressure from their important customers - businesses losing money! - that they'd block the NSA and fix it. Tech aware customers would route around the blockages. They'd have no choice. Things would be fixed within hours, whether the government likes it, or allows it, or not. They can't shoot every nerd in the country.

    So the whole thing is just...stupid 20th century pre-Internet thinking.

    The government doesn't need it's own special network. Make the one we all use robust. And use that one. Without it we're all dead ducks anyway, so fix it properly.

  • Aug 13th, 2016 @ 10:28am

    Hurt the good guys, help the bad guys

    The argument often made in favor of privately-held weapons (which, like it or not, has an element of truth) applies even more strongly in this case.

    Criminals and terrorists don't obey the law. That's why they're criminals.

    If you mandate backdoors or weaken encryption, all you accomplish is to weaken the defenses of the law-abiding, while leaving the bad guys with strong encryption.

    You make the situation worse rather than better.

    (Worse for civil society, that is. If you're law enforcement, you might care more about "making busts" than you do about protecting citizens. If so, I suppose backdoors look good to you.)

  • Aug 12th, 2016 @ 8:53am

    Why do it that way?

    A practical question from someone who doesn't use Facebook (I'm of the generation that hasn't quite figured out what it's useful for. Oh, and please get off my lawn.)

    Why didn't the guy just put the video on YouTube and post a link?

    Why does anybody post videos to FB in the first place?

  • Aug 6th, 2016 @ 10:03am


    +1 insightful

  • Aug 4th, 2016 @ 8:53am

    Re: predatory types using Pokemon Go to attract victims

    How does banning the predators from playing the game help?

    The players are the potential victims; not the offenders.

    The predators can hang out and wait for victims whether they play the game or not.

    If if that weren't the case, how would this ban help? These people are felons - if the existing penalties are not enough to discourage them, how is adding a law against playing the game going to make any difference?

  • Aug 3rd, 2016 @ 8:00am

    Yay, China

    Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

  • Jul 28th, 2016 @ 4:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: immediately disqualified

    I'll trash whom I please, thank you.

    FWIW, in my view Trump and Clinton are both horrible, but in very different ways.

    Clinton is horrible in the normal way that Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama were horrible.

    Which is, in my book, pretty bad.

    But Trump is a whole different class of horrible.

    I can't in good conscience vote for either of them.

    My vote will go to Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. They're far from perfect too, but they are not corrupt, obviously incompetent, or insane, and will respect the Constitution.

    That's something - more than I can say for Clinton and Trump.

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