beltorak’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Feb 27th, 2015 @ 9:13pm


    I think you are selling this example short. It is something that a lot people have had direct exposure to. Normally when you start a discussion on fair use, you have to fill in back story, when the work was created, the copyright it falls under, what fair use allows, and how some example is fair use.

    With this you can side step all of that and just point out that technically the photograph is under copyright, but fair use allows all these articles to be written with the original and remixed images, immediately - no waiting for some gatekeeper to give each and every newsie, blogger, and facebooker permission to make their point. Take out all the pics and the articles would be very hard to follow - you would have to go back to the original pic, and could only imagine the photo manipulations.

  • Feb 27th, 2015 @ 9:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: The answer is photography

    a while ago this one also made the rounds; it is my favorite. No matter how much I tell myself that the labeled squares are the same shade of gray, my mind automatically "corrects" it to what it should be.

  • Feb 27th, 2015 @ 8:57pm


    gah; i replied to the wrong person :-/ sigh

    yeah, it seems to be the perfect combination of color acuity and "the mind making shit up" (or, "correcting what you see to align with what you know should be true").

    I bet this image also drives you up the wall....

  • Feb 27th, 2015 @ 8:53pm

    Re: Magic is real !

    yeah, it seems to be the perfect combination of color acuity and "the mind making shit up" (or, "correcting what you see to align with what you know should be true").

    I bet this image also drives you up the wall....

  • Feb 26th, 2015 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Speaking of wasted ink...

    make sure to tape the papers in a loop so they have enough copies to get to all the relevant people. start on a friday evening so they have ample time over the weekend to work on it.

    see black faxes (time code 6:50)

    (no, don't really do that)

    ((jeez, do i really have to put that to cover my ass in case i get swept up in some surveillance net??))

  • Feb 25th, 2015 @ 7:03pm


    sounds like you are describing a government agency that's too big to bail on.... sad times....

  • Feb 25th, 2015 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bad article mistake

    I think you have the right of it. I would like to point out however that the CYA approach only seems reasonable because this legal tort domain in These Modern United States is batshit crazy. It's purely a defensive move on FedEx's part.

    Just like PayPal cancelling a business person's account because someone made a payment to them with a joke of a memo "for cocaine".

    Yes, it's the same stupid that gives rise to "zero tolerance" policies, and yes, FedEx would undoubtedly be on the receiving end of a lawsuit for exercising common sense.

  • Feb 25th, 2015 @ 12:56pm


    well computers can't hold copyrights so that won't be a big deal. computers can probably infringe on copyrights tho, and in causing untold trillions of dollars of global economic damage because copyright infringement will probably lead the computer to be summarily executed on the spot.

  • Feb 25th, 2015 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Random Idea From Brit

    this is it exactly. if the people in power were in any way intellectually honest or even consistent, it would be a different story.

    But in These Modern United States: citizens are people who have rights (insofar as they are granted them anyway) and responsibilities (that are imposed on them); corporations (that in many senses "own" citizens) are people that have rights but no responsibilities; and property (that citizens own and are empowered by) have responsibilities but no rights.

    How fucked up is that?

  • Feb 25th, 2015 @ 11:42am

    Re: Disagree about minimum standard

    Yes absolutely; the property should be restored to the owner, unless the owner is found guilty for the crime under which the property was seized. None of this "seize for drugs, bust for prostitution, keep the car" bullshit. In fact this should be exactly what the 4th amendment covers. Anything else is (IMHO) an unreasonable seizure. (It should go without saying that seizure of the property should be a reasonable punishment for the crime to begin with.)

  • Feb 20th, 2015 @ 4:35pm

    and we thought technologically clueless lawmakers were the only bad thing we had to worry about

    Yes, it's Komodia (which Superfish doesn't name) who appears to have done this, but it's Superfish who decided to use Komodia's braindead stupid method of breaking HTTPS. Yes, you tested it, but your tests suck if you didn't spot this kind of security mess.

    This goes beyond calling out that their tests suck. Maybe their tests do not. How many laptop provisioners have a line item in their test suite "does not expose user to massive MitM"? Probably none (arguments can be made that they should....)

    This is purely and simply "technology and security cluelessness" in spades.

    Because any halfway decent laptop provisioner should know the end result of what they are purchasing from their subcontractors. Even hearing a high level, 30,000 feet description of the process ("we inject ads into shopping sites for you by decrypting web sites and reencrypting it so the user doesn't notice") would have had any halfway competent neuron exposed to the security disasters in recent years lighting up like a distress flair. This conversation absolutely should have happened between superfish and komodia, or lenovo and superfish.

    Being this ignorant of technology and security, for lawmakers and provisioners alike, is flat out unacceptable.

  • Feb 17th, 2015 @ 12:54pm


    they won't outright ban it in the US; they'll just mandate IPSEC with DUAL_EC_DRBG.

  • Feb 10th, 2015 @ 7:38pm

    Re: Interesting choice

    > I find it fascinating that China chooses to reply to requests for blocked domains by returning falsified results. That alone should be ground to get their DNS servers banned from the system until they fix the problem.

    Wouldn't that mean that anyone from the outside would not be able to resolve hostnames that are theirs to point to? It also wouldn't help the fact that everyone on the inside is likely using those DNS servers by default.

    > I wonder why they don't reply to those requests in the correct way: by saying that they can't resolve the domain name? Or why they don't do it like the US does it: reply with the address to a server that displays a big ol' "you're breaking the law!" message?

    That would be too straight forward; by sending requestors to a wrong page, they sow confusion among the enemy. "Hey, did you check out that site?" "Yeah, they were selling cute kitten doilies!" It might be a while before they communicate that something is wrong.

  • Feb 10th, 2015 @ 7:31pm


    It is impossible to create a system that cannot be gamed. i believe that follows from Turing and Gödel.

  • Feb 10th, 2015 @ 7:27pm

    Re: A vaguely similar story...

    > saying that config change was on his standard cheat-sheet and he didn't understand why it did that or why we were so upset.

    wow, not only is he clueless but he doesn't understand why you're upset that he's incompetent and taking your money.

  • Feb 9th, 2015 @ 9:42am


    at the end of citizenfour, snowden and greenwald were sitting in snowden's living room talking about another leaker; they were writing the sensitive parts down on paper, on a table with a glass top.

    yeah, right back where we started.

  • Feb 6th, 2015 @ 10:00am

    (untitled comment)

    This is really good to hear.

    I've come to the conclusion after heartbleed (and this confirms it) that companies that choose a FLOSS project instead of a costly proprietary one should take some of the money that would have gone to licensing and donate it to the FLOSS project.

    OpenSSL is a particular sore spot for me as I know that a lot of companies devoted huge amounts of developer resources to their own proprietary fork, and spent another ton of money to get their own fork FIPS certified so they could use it in their products. Over and over and over again these companies redo the same damn work (as a group and individually when they went through the same process for a newer version of OpenSSL) and very little of it (if any) made it back to the project or developers in terms of code or money.

    This seems to stem from a the entitlement culture - the grand daddy of the permission culture - that tries to claim "ownership" of every scrap of "intellectual property".

    I am glad this has a happy continuation, but I can't help but wonder what are we overlooking? What other FLOSS projects out there are critical to the internet ecosystem, and what are their needs?

  • Jan 29th, 2015 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: Different application, same old cr@p...DRM

    That is the very nature and design of DRM. It is the raison d'être. To deny the service of something at someone else's whim.

  • Jan 29th, 2015 @ 3:38pm

    Re: A boon for open source...

    That's only half the solution though. Everyone seems to conveniently forget the gaping security hole introduced by arguably the most popular FOSS encryption library, OpenSSL.

    The other half is to take at least some of that money your company would have spent on the proprietary software and donate it to the FOSS tools you are using.

    It doesn't have to be a cash donation (in case the project doesn't really have a project manager in charge of financials, like, say, OpenSSL); offer to pay a developer's salary. Offer to pay for infrastructure and set it up.

    For some projects, a year of salary or infrastructure might still be cheaper than licenses. For others you could band together with a few other companies and form a joint subsidiary (or whatever) and pool your money.

  • Jan 29th, 2015 @ 8:57am


    this is only done in consumer firmware. LEOs will have an override. you can count on it.

    so a government employee fucks up and everyone else get screwed twice because of it.

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