Kal Zekdor’s Techdirt Profile

kalzekdor

About Kal Zekdor




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  • Sep 29th, 2016 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: And the Death Spiral Begins...

    No, you're fairly correct on the first one. As the number of subscribers approaches zero, the monthly bill required to maintain revenue approaches infinity.

    As the cost of service increases, they lose subscribers, which increases the cost of service, which loses subscribers, et cetera ad nauseam. It's a self-reinforcing cycle, and if they don't do something about it right now (such as accepting lower revenue rates, or improving customer experience) they have no chance of avoiding the forthcoming point of criticality which starts the runaway chain-reaction.

  • Sep 28th, 2016 @ 9:50pm

    Re: not fair use!

    It is possible to think that both actions were wrong. Well, actually, all three actions.

    The "message" of the tweet was certainly idiotic. It was also offensive, though I, personally, care less about that than the actual ramifications of the policy it endorses.

    Junior should have taken the time to find a public domain or freely licensed image, or pulled out his phone and taken one himself. Using a proprietary image for your own purposes like this isn't acceptable, and just because it's about politics doesn't mean it's fair use.

    The author of the image was within his rights to take down the image. However, he did not object so much to the use of the image, but rather to the associated speech. If it had been speech he agreed with, or likely was even ambivalent towards, I doubt he would have acted in the same manner. So, here we have an individual who is using copyright not to protect the value of his works, but to stifle speech he disagrees with. That's not something that I can accept.

  • Sep 19th, 2016 @ 11:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re-read the article

    Familiarizing oneself and complying with regulations is just a cost of doing business. I don't think that the "burden" argument has any merit here. If there was a legitimate need for these regulations, then, unless the burden is unreasonable, it shouldn't be a concern. An unreasonable burden would be one that the majority of businesses would be unable to responsibly meet. In this case, that would mean businesses that give up on wifi altogether. I don't think that's the case here. I mean, sure, nobody's happy about shelling out, at worst, 500 euros to hire somebody to bring the wifi into compliance for them, so that they don't need any knowledge. A couple hours of research and some minor technical acumen can cut that cost down seriously. But it's not an unreasonable burden. No one is going to have to close up shop because they can't afford to comply.

    Ultimately, objecting to this regulation because of the burden it would cause is a red herring. I mean, what if they provide a grant and a team of government qualified contractors to every business that wants to offer wifi. Or, more likely, subsidize business ISPs to provide compliant equipment, as most of the businesses offering wifi (at least the ones with no technical staff) are probably using whatever equipment their ISP provided. Suddenly the burden argument is gone, and the rest gets a hand waving. This should be objected to because of the horrible precedents it sets regarding privacy, not because it might cause businesses to spend some money.

  • Sep 18th, 2016 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re-read the article

    Well, my point was that there's a lot of cheap hardware on the market that designed for use by non-technical people. A business could probably set something up for less than $200 (not sure if prices vary much over there, but shouldn't be far off), including hiring someone to install/setup. That wouldn't be an undue burden, if there was any merit to the requirements. Since, clearly, there's not, even the slightest burden is far too much.

  • Sep 18th, 2016 @ 2:15pm

    Re: no sympathy here

    Well, Gawker is trash, that's not being disputed. These reactionary take-downs aren't going to help with that image in the slightest, though. In fact, it just makes it worse, making horrible posts but not having the guts to stand by what you said. If they want to not be considered trash, they need some real editorial oversight, so that they stop posting this shit in the first place.

  • Sep 16th, 2016 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re-read the article

    It's not that much of a burden. There's been a lot of movement in the last few years in the area of "Coffee Shop WiFi". There are a bunch of APs on the market that offer easily configurable entry portals, or generate temporary passwords that can be sent directly to a network connected (reciept) printer. I've even seen one that lets people login with Facebook! If that's not de-anonymization, I don't know what is...

    Of course, none of that changes the fact that this is an incredibly stupid and dangerous ruling.

  • Sep 7th, 2016 @ 11:46am

    Great White Monolith

    That's an interesting term there. While it may seem like that from the outside (and, certainly, it's nearly impossible to contact any humans over there), Google, as this story shows, is anything but monolithic. Google is more like a fuedal kingdom than a functioning company. The services all have their little fiefdoms, and compete with other services to draw in more eyeballs for ads. If they do well, they might get more engineers and a bigger budget. If they do poorly, they're on the chopping block. There is absolutely no top-level coordination, no overarching strategy to what Google does, and it results in situations like this, with them shooting themselves in the foot because the various limbs don't communicate or coordinate.

  • Sep 3rd, 2016 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: The more things change...

    Exactly! The technology is to blame! How could anyone presume to hold these individuals accountable for their actions? The very idea is absurd! Clearly these nefarious actions were undertaken whilst beholden to the siren song of this insidious serpent named Science! These unfortunate souls are by nature morally upstanding citizens, and, absent the corrupting hand of technology, they would not hurt a fly. Why, it's not as though there's an entire history of widespread surveillance going back thousands of years, so the technology must be the impetus of this trend!

    In other news, Congress recently passed a law making murder legal. One Senator, discussing the new law, said "Murder used to be a serious crime. Back in my day, a man who took another's life was considered an extremely evil individual. That all changed with these new-fangled assault rifles. Nowadays, anyone can just stop by a Walmart on the way to the office, pick up an AR-15 and a box of ammo, and empty out the whole godforsaken building! It's just so easy to kill folks these days, it seems foolish to make it illegal."

    /s

    More seriously, yes, the advances in technology have created dangerous new tools that can, and are, being used to the detriment of our society. However, a tool has no moral judgment associated with it. A hammer is neither good nor evil, it simply is. Moral weight can only be ascribed to the users of a tool.

    Further, the ease of performing an immoral action does not suddenly make it any less immoral. True, it may mean that bad actors are more likely to be able to carry out these immoral actions, but that does not convey a moral judgment on the tool. (Not to mention that "un-inventing" something is a fools errand.) Society must judge the bad actors directly, instead of wishing to put the genie back in the bottle.

    More specifically, complaining about the ubiquity of tools that can be used for surveillance is not only pointless, it's actively detrimental to actually stopping any of the widespread surveillance. We need to focus on curtailing this activity from the top-down, putting in place strict behavioral guidelines for organizations like the NSA, the FBI, the DEA, etc., and, most importantly, real oversight with the ability to enforce those guidelines. (Of course, in the current political climate, that's not likely to happen, so we have some preliminary work to do before then....)

    One last note: The casual sexism in that phonograph article is just... depressing.

  • Sep 2nd, 2016 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re:

    I think I've only seen a video promo on Netflix once or twice, and I'm fairly sure it was after I finished watching a series, not before. (Usually for some spin-off of what I was watching, like finishing Jessica Jones and seeing a promo for Season 2 of Daredevil.) If something similar happens before movies, I haven't seen it, but if I did, it wouldn't bother me much, assuming they're skippable like the promos I've seen . Part of why I subscribe to Netflix is for the content suggestions, so even if there's a bit of "sponsored" suggestions going on, I would only be slightly annoyed.

    The major difference (in my view) of what CBS is doing is having these unskippable promos run in the middle of what you're watching. Having ads like that break the flow and trash immersion, which is what is annoying. I generally wouldn't care if a 23-minute show takes 23 and a half minutes to watch. (Though I am annoyed that, due to TV airing constraints (read: ads), it's not a 30-minute show.) Ads in the middle of the show drastically detract from its enjoyment, and ads in-between shows make bingeing more annoying. If you're hurting for cross-promotion, just wait 'til the end of my watch queue, and show a window saying "Thank you for watching Foo, maybe you'll be interested in checking out Bar?" I've just finished watching whatever it was I was interested, that's the best time to catch my attention on something new.

  • Aug 22nd, 2016 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Depends, really...

    What the fuck are you talking about? Ok, first off, Net Neutrality has fuck all to do with data caps. If an ISP wants to sell their service by the gigabyte, so that heavy users pay more, that's prefectly in line with Net Neutrality principles. I mean, it's still stupid*, but it's "neutral".

    What violates Net Neutrality principles is the practice of "zero-rating" certain classes of data. This skews the marketplace and gives gatekeepers undue influence. As far as Net Neutrality goes, limiting data is fine, even throttling the connection is fine, but only doing that for certain classes of data is not. Zero-rating video, for example, incentivizes users to consume video instead of other data, which goes against the principles of the Internet as an open and unbiased communication medium.

    It's got fuck all to do with "bandwidth hogs".



    *There's nearly zero utilization cost associated with an amount of data transferred over a network, merely a tiny amount of electricity, on the order of a few cents per gigabyte, if that. Network costs are all about capacity. RoI increases with average utilization. Customer satisfaction is decreased by network degradation (whether arbitrary or a result of network conditions). As such, it makes the most sense to allow customers unrestricted utilization of the network so long as capacity remains. Data Caps result in under-utilized networks, which, without preverse incentives such as overage charges, results in a net loss for the ISP.

  • Aug 22nd, 2016 @ 9:43am

    Re:

    Yeah, there's just no good option. You either give money to one of the big four directly, or you go with an MVNO and give money to them indirectly. Since every single one of these companies is intent on dismantling any semblance of Net Neutrality, it's practically impossible to avoid funding them.

  • Jul 30th, 2016 @ 2:34pm

    Arbitration

    I get how arbitration clauses are a bad thing when shoved into consumer agreements. In those cases, consumers have little to no ability to renegotiate the contract, and either accept or walk. Forcing consumers into arbitration is often done to prevent any major lawsuits from cutting into the company's profit margins.

    However, arbitration clauses in business to business contracts are a completely different beast. A court battle is not only costly, it's also inherently adversarial. You take another business to court and your relationship with them is done, whether you win or lose. Yet, disputes happen, and they need a way to be resolved. Arbitration provides a low-cost method that will hopefully allow both companies to move forward, and not sever ties. We have arbitration clauses in our contracts for those reasons. We discuss the reasoning over with the other parties, and they have always agreed readily, or even stated that they would have put in such a clause themselves.

    Most companies want to avoid costly legal battles, especially those without a team of lawyers on retainer. Arbitration provides a fair, unbiased way to resolve disputes without bankrupting the corporation with legal fees.

    (A lot of companies have liability insurance anyway, the major cost of a suit is not the judgment, but the cost of defense.)

  • Jul 25th, 2016 @ 4:13pm

    Not exactly.

    I think you're reading into this too much. Clearly there's no legal basis for preventing these campaigns from using these songs. If there were, the artists would be following that avenue instead of making an appeal to emotion!

    I saw the segment last night, and not once was I given the impression that the campaigns were engaging in illegal behavior, despite not knowing about the licensing deals at all. (Though I would have liked to find out about that in the segment.) The song did get a bit heavy handed with using "stealing", but I thought it was a bit of deliberate satire, and, if not, I've learned long ago to read between the lines whenever anybody talks about theft of IP.

    The artists in question are unhappy about unwillingly "supporting" candidates they don't like, understandably. Yes, their deals with the record labels and publishers enable this, but they put enormous pressure on artists to sign up. Many don't know what they're getting into. The record labels prey on artists, yet people keep blaming the victims.

    So, they can't pursue legal action. They can't revoke their license. What can they do? Make an appeal to emotion to a receptive audience, which might make politicians think twice before using a song without the artist's support, or potentially face some negative publicity.

  • Jul 11th, 2016 @ 11:09am

    Re: Wrong approach, but...

    There is no right to Privacy, but there is a right to Free Speech. Maybe if enough people make a demand for it, a right to Privacy could be ammended to the Constitution, but, even if that were to happen, it would be a mess every time it came against the First Ammendment, which would be quite often.

    Of course, none of that has anything to do with this story, as this lawyer is abusing the DMCA to remove information he doesn't want public. The DMCA is about copyright, (hint: it's right there in the name), not privacy. The DMCA takedown procedure was not intended to be a tool for the removal of any information you want removed. It's not the EU's Right to be Forgotten. Whether or not you think the US needs such a law is irrelevant; such a law would not be related to the DMCA, and abuses of the DMCA need to be punished.

  • Jul 8th, 2016 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re:

    If we're just talking about government officials... sure. But Russian officials are a notoriously corrupt lot. I don't doubt that a number of those encryption keys will end up making their way to the black market.

  • Jul 5th, 2016 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Huh.

    That's not how currency works. You'd just end up with a new currency exchange market for people to change Tangible Item Dollars into Binary Information Tokens. Aside from providing a new market for currency speculators, it would have little effect. See BitCoin.

  • Jul 5th, 2016 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re:

    That bitch should have been arrested years ago, for that, and so much more.

  • Jun 22nd, 2016 @ 10:55am

    Re: Wrong, but so right

    Wow... This is very nearly textbook Stockholm Syndrome. You're so used to ISPs gouging you to hell and back that as soon as soon as one of them lets up on the knife just a little suddenly they're your best friend. This particular kidnapper might not be beating you just for fun, but you're still locked in a dark basement waiting for the ransom to be paid, so why are you thanking them?

    I can only make this so clear: Data Caps are arbitrary, they serve no network management purpose, they are not necessary. Thanking T-Mobile for Binge-On is thanking them for somewhat ameliorating a problem they created in the first place.

  • May 20th, 2016 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re:

    I think I should dig out my "Keep Out Of Direct Sunlight" shirt...

  • May 2nd, 2016 @ 9:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The "Chilling Effect..."

    A chilling effect doesn't have to be all or nothing. If a single person is dissuaded from performing a legal action due to fear of legal reprisal, that is a quantifiable chilling effect, even if a minor one. Your policeman with a radar gun analogy doesn't hold water, as travelling above the speed limit is against the law. If, say, there was an increased incidence of ticketing of red cars, and, as a result, fewer people purchased red cars for fear of being unjustly targeted, then that reduction in the purchase of red cars, a wholly legal act, is a chilling effect.

    I'm not saying that there might not be other explanations for this particular drop in searches. There may be other reasons for it. (Though the fact that you're initially prejudiced against the accuracy of the data, despite supporting anecdotal evidence, is telling.) However, it is irrelevant to the point at hand, which is that your own words described a scenario which is the exact definition of a chilling effect, yet you claim it is not a chilling effect.

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