Mason Wheeler’s Techdirt Profile

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  • Aug 21st, 2017 @ 8:48am

    (untitled comment)

    First they came for the sexists, and for everyone who wasn't sexist but who spoke up for them--they called them sexists too. And so I didn't speak up.
    Then they came for the racists, and for everyone who wasn't racist but who spoke up for them--they called them racists too. And so I didn't speak up.
    Then they came for the homophobes, and for everyone who wasn't homophobic but who spoke up for them--they called them homophobes too. And so I didn't speak up.
    Then they came for the Nazis, and for everyone who wasn't a Nazi but who spoke up for them--they called them Nazis too.

    Maybe I should speak up now, before they find a reason to come for me and call me something even worse?

  • Aug 18th, 2017 @ 4:03pm

    (untitled comment)

    But part of the point of Allworth's article is that it feels like too many people are just focusing on "profit" as the end goal, and thus either unwilling or unconcerned with determining if the entrepreneurship that drives the profit is "productive" or "unproductive."

    Wasn't it Bill Clinton who famously said, "It's the economy, stupid!"?

    Well, there's definitely some stupidity involved there. This seems to be one of the biggest, most harmful misunderstandings of our day. It's not the economy, stupid! The economy is an effect, and a second-order effect at that, not a cause. Trying to manipulate it directly leads to disaster. (See: every major economic bubble/crash cycle since we started down this path in the 80s.)

    If you want a strong economy--one that's truly strong rather than a bunch of fake strength propped up by debt--you don't achieve it by focusing on the economy. You achieve it by focusing on morality. Do the right thing, treat your people well, have businesses treat their workers and their customers well rather than exploiting them, and you get the sort of strength that nations dream about.

    Just look at Henry Ford. His policies of treating his workers well and paying them enough that they'd be able to buy Ford automobiles were so successful at jump-starting the American middle class that the whole concept ended up being referred to as "Fordism" by economists. Somehow we've gotten away from Fordism, to our detriment. Bring it back, stop trying to manipulate the economy directly, and we'll see our economy pick up.

  • Aug 18th, 2017 @ 1:58pm

    Typo alert

    First, while it's true nt voting information was exposed

    I do nt think that's what you meant.

  • Aug 18th, 2017 @ 10:29am

    Re:

    a still-backward nation

    ...such as the USA, which pioneered the concept of extralegal takedowns on accusation alone, flying in the face of Western legal tradition?

  • Aug 18th, 2017 @ 8:57am

    (untitled comment)

    There's no reason legislators should allow this law to remain on the books any longer. The only thing it does is encourage people the law doesn't apply to (public figures) to work with compliant law enforcement agencies to shut down criticism.

    OK, this is the part I don't get. If the law's been found unconstitutional, does it even need to be repealed? I was under the impression that it automatically gets stricken down by judicial review.

  • Aug 17th, 2017 @ 9:22am

    (untitled comment)

    It's a damned if you do and damned if you don't scenario for ESPN

    You say that like it's a bad thing...

  • Aug 16th, 2017 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Why an Injunction?

    The court addressed this: if you can keep people who might be competitors from scraping your site, this is, by definition, anticompetitive behavior, which is not legal. It's not "a law demanding that Linkedin let someone scrape" so much as applying existing laws to this circumstance. And IMO the court's right about that. You can't make data publicly available and then try and put restrictions on its access or use.

  • Aug 15th, 2017 @ 1:16pm

    (untitled comment)

    So, Proper Media engages in a scheme to avoid S Corp laws against being owned by a corporation, one so transparent that they flat-out admit in their legal filing that that's exactly what they were doing (ie. that those individuals were all really holding the shares on behalf of the company).

    Is anyone really surprised, after that, to hear that top executives were engaged in a scheme to evade inconvenient parts of other US laws?

    Are Shoentrup and Richmond Objectivists, by chance? Because that's where you usually see this sort of outright contempt for the law and for those around them, particularly employees. (See also: Uber's Travis Kalanick...)

  • Aug 15th, 2017 @ 12:56pm

    (untitled comment)

    And don't worry – they don't know you're following them.

    There's a word for that kind of "following:" we call it stalking, and in many other contexts, it's illegal.

  • Aug 14th, 2017 @ 12:33pm

    (untitled comment)

    If this is a valid 1201 claim, then I could make the equally valid claim that functionalclam's entire existence is a 1201 violation and the site (and all the rest of the ones that Admiral uses for similar purposes) need to come down immediately.

    No no, seriously, hear me out.

    First, the definition used here:

    The other part of the DMCA, which we also still talk about pretty frequently is DMCA 1201, sometimes called the "anti-circumvention" section or the "digital locks" section. This is the (highly problematic!) part of the DMCA that says that circumventing "technological measures" that are designed to "control access" to a work protected by copyright. 1201 is dangerously broad in that it makes it a violation of the law to "manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof" if the purpose of that technology is to circumvent. In practice, this means that using or making a tool for perfectly legal circumvention -- such as for fair use or accessing public domain material -- can still be said to be in violation of this law.

    My web browser is a work protected by copyright. I use an adblocker to control access to it by preventing undesirable websites from accessing it. Therefore, it's a 1201 violation to attempt to circumvent my ad blocker, and quite possibly a CFAA violation as well... right?

    (Any lawyers in the house who wanna take a crack at this one?)

  • Aug 14th, 2017 @ 8:23am

    (untitled comment)

    artificial artifice

    I'm going to have to report you to the Department of Redundancy Department for that one...

  • Aug 10th, 2017 @ 8:30am

    (untitled comment)

    CDT claims that these are deceptive trade practices.

    That's putting it mildly!

    Consumers have reported instances of credit card fraud after purchasing the “Elite” paid-version of Hotspot Shield VPN. One consumer reported “thousands of dollars” in credit card charges, as well as other suspicious online activity.

    That's not "deceptive trade practices"; that's a crime. That's something that people should literally be sent to prison for.

    Contrary to Hotspot Shield’s claims, the VPN has been found to be actively injecting JavaScript codes using iframes for advertising and tracking purposes. An iframe, or “inline frame,” is an HTML tag that can be used to embed content from another site or service onto a webpage; iframes are frequently used to insert advertising, but can also be used to inject other malicious or unwanted code onto a webpage.

    Further analysis of Hotspot Shield’s reverse-engineered source code revealed that the VPN uses more than five different third-party tracking libraries, contradicting statements that Hotspot Shield ensures anonymous and private web browsing.

    Not sure if that one's a crime, but if it's not it definitely should be. One could probably make a case that it's a CFAA violation (yay for finding a good use for it!) if nothing else. This is something else that people should be sent to prison for.

    Forget the FTC and "deceptive trade practices;" they should be filing complaints with the FBI over this stuff!

  • Aug 8th, 2017 @ 10:03am

    Re:

    (Argh, that was me. Forgot to put my name in.)

  • Aug 8th, 2017 @ 9:50am

    (untitled comment)

    But... in the meantime, how the hell is that allowed?

    They're just following the precedent we set in the US with the DMCA, of allowing private law enforcement actions when it comes to accusations of copyright infringement. This follows directly from that.

    Now you understand why I've been saying for years that the DMCA needs to be repealed...

  • Aug 4th, 2017 @ 9:47am

    (untitled comment)

    Rapper behaves despicably, treats women as sex objects. News at 11.

  • Aug 4th, 2017 @ 8:35am

    Re:

    Twitter: by Twits, for Twits. Why is anyone surprised?

  • Aug 1st, 2017 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Obligatory IANAL

    Exactly. The sale was a blatantly transparent attempt to get around the law preventing corporations from owning an S corp, to the point where Proper Media (the corporation, not its human members who own the shares) is the plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, alleging all sorts of improper actions that harm Proper Media (the corporation, not its human members who own the shares) with regard to the management of Snopes.

    ISTM Proper Media is engaging in out-and-out fraud here. Regardless of what David Mikkelson may or may not have done, that alone should get their claims thrown out.

  • Jul 28th, 2017 @ 2:14pm

    (untitled comment)

    Sheriff's Office That Raided Hobby Gardener's Home Over Tea Leaves

    Anyone else see this and imagine Professor Trelawney consulting for the Sherrif's department, helping them find people to raid?

  • Jul 27th, 2017 @ 12:24pm

    Re:

    I think that's shorthand for "respect our brand rights," ie. not committing actual trademark infringement. Which is a lot more reasonable than the literal reading.

  • Jul 24th, 2017 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Because Reasons

    I cannot wait to hear what United says what danger they were trying to protect us from.

    Isn't it obvious? If you were flying a plane, would you want supervillains in the cargo hold?

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