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  • Jun 22nd, 2017 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Hah!

    Because law enforcement's going to target everything except child porn and child exploitation.

  • Jun 22nd, 2017 @ 12:46pm


    Look at those who are denouncing sex workers, any doubts they avail themselves of the services?

    Not any doubt at all. Maybe it's time for those sex workers to go to all their other important/influential clients and go "I'm going to get caught by this bill anyway, so if it passes I'm going to out all my clients publicly and negotiate for a light sentence in return for my cooperation. So you may want to make sure it gets scuttled and stays scuttled."

  • Jun 22nd, 2017 @ 11:12am


    I sometimes wonder if it's not time for the courts to take matters in hand: "The Bar Association may do as it wishes, but this Court remains the final authority over who may stand before it's bar and lawyers who we find are consistently ignoring the basic rules of the legal profession and this court can go sit with the other spectators.".

  • Jun 21st, 2017 @ 3:26pm


    Well, yes, because to be illegal speech it first has to be found to be outside the scope of the 1st Amendment's protection. And the Court sets a fairly high bar for that.

  • Jun 21st, 2017 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re:

    Exactly. The terminology the copyright maximalists are using has long-established meaning in the legal system, and I'd like to see them jerked sharply back into legal reality by a defendant going "They're basing their entire argument on my having been found to have infringed repeatedly, yet there's nothing in the record showing I've been found to have infringed even once. If they can't cite the actions where a court reached a finding of infringement, I'd like this action dismissed.".

  • Jun 21st, 2017 @ 10:57am

    (untitled comment)

    I think the ruling might be usable to challenge blanket disconnection, but orders barring someone from accessing specifically sites offering pirated material would probably pass muster. That of course leads to other questions, including one that I haven't seen brought up much: the definition of "repeat infringer". I'd love to see someone contest disconnection on the basis that they have never been found to have infringed. Been accused of it yes, but anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time and none of the accusations have gone through trial and been sustained.

  • Jun 19th, 2017 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: It makes sense...

    You'd need to have it allow a certain amount of time after registration before a product had to be traded, otherwise you're going to open a whole new front-running industry based around watching for new products about to be introduced and grabbing the relevant trademarks just before the products went on the market.

  • Jun 15th, 2017 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Government has a point...

    And in the above the person has control over the money and the offshore trust. Does this mean that the US government can order him to change the trust so it's no longer offshore so they can collect taxes on it that they can't as long as it's offshore?

  • Jun 14th, 2017 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Government has a point...

    I suppose Google does have the means to comply with the order, by simply changing how it manages data. The question is, does it have to change how it manages it's data so that it can comply?

    That question isn't just an abstract question about network management, it implicates a lot of other very concrete aspects of law. For instance, a person can set up their finances so all their income is earned in the name of and goes to an overseas trust which buys what it's trustees (who happen to be the person in question and a couple of people he employs for the purpose of agreeing with his decisions) tells it to and lets the trust's beneficiary (also the person in question) use it. That way the person has no income and no assets in the US and none of the trust's income is under US jurisdiction, so they don't have to pay US income tax on anything. That person can easily change their finances to bring all of their income under US jurisdiction. Assuming that the trust arrangement is legal, is that person then obligated to change their finances so the US can collect income tax from them?

    The question's the same in both cases. I do things in X way. The government orders me to give it something it's entitled to ask me for. As it stands I'd only have to turn over A to comply with their order, but if I stop doing things X way and do them Z way instead then I'd have to turn over B, C, and D in addition to just A. Both X and Z are perfectly legal ways of doing things. The government would prefer I turn over A, B, C, and D. Am I obliged to change how I do things to suit their preference, or am I entitled to turn over only A and tell them to go pound sand as far as B, C, and D go until they can get the law changed to make doing things X way no longer legal?

  • Jun 14th, 2017 @ 11:12am

    (untitled comment)

    If Mr. Clapper's so sure it's possible, I'll be happy to work on the problem for him. My rates start at $200/hour assuming a minimum of 2080 hours (a 1-year contract at 40 hours/week), with rate adjustments for travel, out-of-office work and work in excess of 8 hours/day or 40 hours/week to be determined. An initial estimate is it'll take quite a bit more than just one year for the work, but I should have a good handle on the time required by the end of that first year and he can decide then whether it's worth it to him to pay for the time required.

    Oh, he wants me to do this for free? Well, I suppose I could. He'll have to take a number and get in line behind the other 7,936 people who've asked me to do pro bono development for them over the years, though.

  • Jun 13th, 2017 @ 4:34pm


    I suspect the tape's one of those where the sex was consensual and she knew the tape was being made but the understanding she had at the time was that it wasn't going any further than the participants. Years down the road, the other participant got mad at her for some reason or another and decided to post their copy of the tape to get back at her and/or cause her trouble.

    As unfair as it seems that someone should have to deal with this just because of a jerk they stopped dating, it's still an example of the old Sicilian proverb "Two can keep a secret, if one of them is dead.".

  • Jun 13th, 2017 @ 3:19pm


    And even if it hadn't been covered, consider something. If sites like Tumblr have to waste time and money showing up every time someone wants to hold them liable for or require them to act because of posts by their users without having first won against those users, what's the point of having Section 230 at all? The whole idea behind Section 230 was specifically to prevent hosting providers from having to worry about plaintiffs trying to go after the easy target instead of the right target.

    Maybe it's time to start going directly to the Appeals Courts on the grounds that the judges in these cases are failing to apply the law as written when handing down these default judgments (they're ignoring Section 230 when it applies and they should be forced to either apply it as they're required to or face disciplinary action).

  • Jun 13th, 2017 @ 1:26pm


    It's one of the legalistic bits. Tumblr's being asked to turn over info in an action against Tumblr. That ought to fall under the Section 230 shield since there's not supposed to be an action against Tumblr at all in these circumstances. By rights, if the plaintiff wanted to go after the people who reblogged the link they should've filed actions against those users, shown that their actions were serious enough to allow for their identification, and then asked Tumblr to turn over the info as a third party in a proceeding not directed at Tumblr. But that's a lot more work than the plaintiff in this case wants to go to, especially given that they're unlikely to be able to show enough to get the identities, hence the shortcuts.

  • Jun 1st, 2017 @ 4:12pm

    (untitled comment)

    Looks suspiciously similar to the shape of the windshield of the 1999 Subaru Legacy wagon I owned. This should be easy to invalidate as an obvious and non-novel alteration of extensive prior art.

  • May 31st, 2017 @ 4:32pm

    (untitled comment)

    Firmware updates wouldn't help the problem any more than software updates have eliminated malware and exploits of standard PCs. It's a good idea to require network-connected devices to have upgradeable firmware just on general principles, but I think the real solution lies in asking and answering this question:

    "Why do these devices need to be accessible from the Internet in the first place?"

    I'd start by isolating them from the Internet completely, and in fact from the local LAN as much as is practical. The only devices on the LAN that need to talk to IoT devices are the ones that control them. The rest should be going through that hub or controller intermediary. That's got the advantage of also pressuring IoT makers to conform to standard protocols to avoid having users not buy their devices because they aren't compatible with the hub/controller the user already has (the likely hub/controller makers are Amazon and Google, both big enough that neither will abandon the market and they can't lock users into their hardware without giving up ~50% of the market in the process).

  • May 18th, 2017 @ 2:58pm


    It happened a lot in the last 4 years. Every time the FCC tried to impose a regulation, the ISPs sued arguing that the new rules were arbitrary and lacked any basis justifying them. Even when the basis ought to have been self-evident to anyone with a working brain, the FCC had to spend time writing it all up in detail to show why the rules weren't arbitrary and what basis they had for deciding on those rules.

  • May 9th, 2017 @ 3:56pm

    (untitled comment)

    Not even the standard polite fiction of "We will gladly accept your resignation.".

  • Apr 24th, 2017 @ 3:21pm


    Have to agree. Bricking the devices (or close enough that that kind of consumer won't be able to unbrick it) will give those devices, and if it happens commonly enough that brand, a rep for being unreliable and consumers will start to avoid them. There's a point where we have to say "Subtle hasn't worked, let's try not-subtle." and I'm pretty sure we're well past it. It's not like it's not possible to design consumer hardware/firmware that's secure, it's just that the entity responsible for it doesn't bear the cost of not doing it.

  • Apr 21st, 2017 @ 2:02pm

    (untitled comment)

    Mr. Lau's right in that you generally start with just the IP address (because that's all that exists at the network level) and need to work from that which means going to the owner of the account that was using that address at that time to find out the actual person who was using the account's connection at the time. If cases are thrown out merely because an IP address is all the plaintiff has at the start, that's pretty much equivalent to prohibiting all complaints about on-line copyright infringement and that'd be wrong.

    Where the problem lies isn't with starting with just an IP address, it's with cases where the sheer number of alleged defendants makes it clear the plaintiffs don't intend to pursue actual cases. Cases should start with a (relatively) small number of addresses which have some relationship to each other (eg. their reverse-lookups or traceroutes result in names indicating they're all in the same geographic region and the court you're filing in has jurisdiction over that region), should be for something reasonable (eg. "All we can identify based on the IP address is the account holder and we need to question the account holder to identify the actual infringer.") and most importantly should state up-front the basis for believing infringement has occurred (ie. "We downloaded and viewed the file ourselves and it is in fact a full copy of our film." rather than "It's got a name that vaguely resembles the title of our film.").

  • Apr 20th, 2017 @ 3:37pm

    (untitled comment)

    One mitigation would be to treat it as an extension like any other that just happens to come pre-installed. The first thing you get when you bring up Chrome (or upgrade to a version that includes the blocker) is a tab showing the default state and requiring the user to select their preference or confirm that the defaults are OK.

    Of course, if I were Google I'd make it a 3-way thing: click button 1 to enable Google's blocker, click button 2 to be shown a list of other ad-blocking options and independent reviews of them, or click button 3 if you really truly want to see all ads. But then I'm a bofh.

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