This article will be a perfect opportunity for me to address something that's been bugging me for a while.
For some time, I've noticed an attitude shift in the articles written on the site, most notably from Mike, Timothy, and Karl.
Some articles borderline derogatory statements and others include profanity. In extremely rare cases, both may appear.
I get it. When we feel passionate about a subject, sometimes our common sense is put aside and we throw everything we can at it, hoping our words mean something. My own comment history can attest to that.
But here's the thing: my best comments have been those which removed my personal... choice of words. Twice, I've received kudos from readers to make the yearly top posting.
So why haven't my more colorful posts been awarded? The answer comes down to simplicity: if people focus more on the vulgarity, the point is lost.
This is true. Does anyone at Techdirt honestly think if I forward a message where the word "BULLSHIT" was included that the recipient would find this as journalism?
Don't take my word for it. Look around the people you hang with. Gaming online with Timothy, I would expect nothing but a slew of vulgarity in my headset.
Listening to profanity over an important subject? Not professional.
I'm certainly not opposed to vulgarity, clearly, but there *is* a tremendous difference between remaining above those who Techdirt calls out and remaining civil rather than saying "What you're doing is bullshit. Knock it off."
The recipient of such a phrase (note: not actually used on any article, just an example) would be dismissed not only by the target of the article, but anyone standing around.
It's immature, just as we romp while we game. There's a right time to be immature and then there's the right time to remain above everything else going to hell in a handbasket.
My Nsider badge will remain missing from my account for a while, because I can't see myself endorsing articles which are slowing degrading into the likes of Fox News, or worse, Breitbart.
I expect better from Techdirt.
I know 2016 has been one of the worst years in recorded history, but should this be an excuse to throw all civility out the window?
Techdirt has always been up front with us regarding its financial situation, and why it pushes ads (which I now have whitelisted, by the way), and it's always been a great relationship.
But lately, I feel the relationship is falling apart. I can't, and never will, relate to articles where the content looks to be more of a personal attack than simply presenting the factual truth.
I don't read typical news pages, such as Yahoo or "feeds" (more often clickbait than news). I don't use Facebook.
This means my news is limited to a couple of sources: Techdirt, Ars, and the Entertainment and Products sections of Bing's news site.
I'm not asking Techdirt to change its formula. It has every right to post as it chooses.
But if I'm being honest, it's a formula I don't agree with, and cannot directly support financially.
Sorry for the long post, but as I said, this was a good opportunity to bring this up. It's been bugging me for a while.
"you have to wonder about the morality (or legality) of the US government becoming one of the world's largest distributor of child pornography."
Perhaps this should be addressed by properly asking the right question of the FBI, which is: "In the past 20 years, how many child porn producers have been arrested?"
I suggest having a box of tissue nearby, because the answer is going to make you cry.
Funding the FBI is no different than other departments. If the FBI is "doing its job", then it means they get the lion's share of the money.
From the agency which wastes no time in setting up fake terrorists.
Stop and think about the ramifications regarding an agency sitting on the world's largest collection of child pornography and the surprisingly timed "arrests" of people, most of whom are consumers, not producers.
More embarrassing perhaps is the fact that the FCC, tasked with protecting broadband consumers, hasn't shown the slightest interest in either cracking down on this behavior, or if not -- ensuring that usage meters are accurate. This isn't embarrassing. It's just downright inaccurate reporting by someone who thinks this is the responsibility of the FCC.
The FCC doesn't protect consumers. This responsibility actually belongs to two separate parties: The FTC, or Federal Trade Commission (and given that wonky middle letter, I can see where confusion lies) and Congress.
Now, the real embarrassing situation is how both are literally the biggest problem in allowing ISPs to get away with what they're doing.
The FTC could easily step in and put down the idiocy of municipal monopolies and stop states from blocking braodband competition, but their excuse is always "But the FCC hasn't properly classified the internet for us to do our jobs."
That's bullshit, but the power of Hollywood money goes a long way.
Then there's Congress, which not only holds power over both the FTC and the FCC, refuses to do anything but pass ridiculous patent and copyright laws which benefit the very industries which own the very ISPs themselves (excluding AT&T, but they've always been favored by the government thanks to their willingness to open their communications to them).
In fact, history even proves the power of the FCC is limited because not only did their first reclassification fail to pass, but their most recent reclassification was done using laws written before everyone dealing with them were born.
This leaves Congress, and given their responsible behavior in recent decades, is pretty much a lost cause.
Which is why I said in the Twitter fiasco, it's up to tech companies to stand up and unify their users to direct them to Congress and force them to change the ancient laws plaguing the industry.
When Facebook and Google shut down their sites, this was enough to piss people off to write Congress and shut down SOPA.
If this country is going to change the law, then Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and hundreds of other popular sites should shut down, put their reason, and have users complain to Congress.
Otherwise, nothing will change.
At any rate, this issue is no longer a priority for me.
Now, I'm more focused on the terrifying prospect a cartoon mouse is about to enter the public domain, and the company behind said mascot owns two of Hollywood's most profitable franchises and has money to throw into coffers.
I can almost guarantee that one of the early comments on this post will be some of you insisting that all the companies denying doing this are flat out lying. I don't agree with that... Back in the early 2000s, there was a staggering report released which showed the NSA and FBI had access to the internet in ways people couldn't imagine. This was the "first" the public heard about the snooping.
And just like this article does with the statement above, people instantly ignored it because they didn't believe it.
Fast forward nearly two fucking decades when a person walks out with powerpoint presentations that the world finally believed.
Here's the thing: Has anyone ever questioned how the original report in 2000 came to be?
At the time, the world's operating system was Windows.
Perhaps ask Microsoft how the information from the NSA was leaked.
As I said many times, what's the point in trying to address these issues when the very first thing people do is say "No way. A company wouldn't do that."
It was even said when Snowden leaked the documents.
It may feel like a favorite coffee shop, but feelings don't pay the bills, so again, the point about this being a business was lost. At least a coffee shop sells coffee, but it doesn't rely on ads to run itself.
That's the elephant in the room that everyone ignores in these discussions. Remember a while ago when Techdirt was transparent about running this site based wholly on ad revenue? They couldn't do it and needed additional support.
That's not a business. That's a charity, or if you'd like, a tip jar. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's impossible to sustain on ad revenue alone, especially when only a few of the patrons support it outside the ads (and it sure doesn't help to allow people to block ads).
It's all well and good for Techdirt, but that's why they can't figure it out. And if Techdirt can't figure it out, whose primary business is to get clients to pay for improving their business, what chance does any digital distributor have?
The advertising necessity for an internet "business" is completely foolish because the internet wasn't designed to be a business.
Before anyone screams "Google", best take a look at how they run the company: it has nothing to do with running a business on the internet, but a physical business to puts ads on the internet.
...what stops Comcast from charging you more if you want 4K Netflix streams to work? Or AT&T deciding it can charge you more if you want your Steam games to download at full bitrate... These already happen now.
Every cable company in the US charges a higher price for HD channels despite broadcasts being mandated to be HD.
It's laughably insulting to see how an HD movie somehow costs $2 more to stream than an SD movie.
As far as gaming downloads, they *are* throttled, regardless if you're going through Steam or a console's store.
The day I see my download speeds match my ISP speeds is the day I wake up and say, "How in the hell did I get to Japan?"
Here's the thing, though: if you want to get upset about this, don't get upset at Twitter. Get furious at parts of the DMCA... Not only No, but FUCK NO.
I am going to get mad at Twitter, and every other company which refuses to stand up against these idiotic copyright laws as they have the means to do so.
Remember how SOPA was defeated? Facebook and Google took their sites down, just to name a couple.
If they had not, the DMCA would have been the least of our worries.
The reality is copyright law isn't going to change. The MPAA has done well to infect the brains of the young with bullshit (go read up on mod authors and how they feel about "stealing").
The industry won.
The ONLY way copyright law now gets fixed is if companies like Twitter, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others stand up against the law.
Since their revenue is solely reliant on the insatiable appetite of its users to know how big a Kardashian's ass has gotten today, it's pretty obvious copyright law isn't going anywhere.
PS: thanks to the fucking idiots who paid money to see the latest Star Wars and Marvel movies, in less than 5 years, we're going to see how those billions are spent when copyright law comes up for renewed extensions.
Basically, yes. The article says it plainly: If you read it again, that's not what it says.
An acknowledgement of information released by a patient is not a HIPAA violation.
Had the provider made this acknowledgement without prior patient statement, then yes, a violation did occur.
I'd need to see the Yelp review in question before I can make the actual determination.
It's unfortunate that HIPAA was another law rushed without regarding the consequences. The changes of the past few years has made it more and more difficult to speak about anything regarding patient data outside of a hermetically sealed, padded, sound-proof room and it's getting atrocious.
I'm all for protecting one's privacy, but an email address is not a privacy violation, yet it's one of the key words tagged for "privacy info" in a growing list of absurdity.
Providers should take extreme care to mention any information that may be patient related and stick to using generic replies.
I also feel patients should be forced to waive their rights if they make these same privacy-ending remarks on any site to which the provider shares.