Kal Zekdor’s Techdirt Profile


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  • 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


    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


    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.

  • May 2nd, 2016 @ 3:35pm

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

    5% seems more like certain people being more cautious because they don't want to draw any more attention to themselves at that key moment.

    In a legal context, a chilling effect is the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights by the threat of legal sanction.

    So, unless you're saying that performing said searches on Wikipedia should be illegal, then that is the exact definition of a chilling effect.

  • Apr 15th, 2016 @ 2:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "almost certainly has put millions of people at risk "

    This is called the Parmenides Fallacy, or the cost of inaction.

    Assumption 1: This exploit is known to various black hat hackers and is in use.
    Assumption 2: Active exploitation of this vulnerability puts citizens at risk.
    Assumption 3: The FBI is aware of this vulnerability.
    Assumption 4: Given knowledge of this vulnerability, Apple could work to mitigate the damage.

    With the given assumptions, there are two options.

    Option A: FBI does not releasd information about the exploit, and it continues to be exploited, harming some number of individuals. Call this number X.
    Option B: FBI releases information about the exploit, reducing the number of harmed individuals. Call this number X - Y.

    The choice between these options is made by the FBI. Therefore, they can choose to harm a larger number of individuals, or a fewer number of individuals.

    The cost of each option, in harmed individuals:

    Option A: Y
    Option B: 0

    By not disclosing the vulnerability their inaction has put some number of individuals at risk of harm.

  • Apr 15th, 2016 @ 2:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "almost certainly has put millions of people at risk "

    So that somehow makes it ok to buy up vulnerabilities and hoard them?

    Did you even read that link you trotted out? It makes it abundantly clear that the FBI has a very poor track record when it comes to disclosing vulnerabilities. They barely pay lip service to the idea. (And the fact that there's a procedure in place for it would indicate that releasing information about exploits they are aware of is very much part of their job).

    There is no scenario where it is acceptable for a law enforcement agency to sit on an exploit like that. That's like a cop going into a shop that's being robbed and saying "Not my problem. I haven't been dispatched here, and the paperwork would be a pain."

  • Apr 14th, 2016 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: "almost certainly has put millions of people at risk "

    I don't know where you're getting the adjective "significant" from. Hell, the word Mike used was "potentially", which is about as far from "significant" as you can get while still being a positive signifier of risk.

    The fact of the matter here is that the FBI could help prevent crime by releasing details of this vulnerability. That they are not, purely out of spite, is appalling. Why is the FBI not doing their fucking job?

  • Apr 14th, 2016 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Surprised they acknowledged finding nothing

    Or just not as competent.

  • Apr 11th, 2016 @ 10:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:yup

    FISA court?

  • Apr 11th, 2016 @ 10:10pm

    Not surprised.

    This shit doesn't even surprise me any more. How sad is that?

  • Apr 11th, 2016 @ 2:15am

    What's the endgame?

    Sometimes I wonder what the point of all this anti-encryption rhetoric is. Even if we take at face value the claimed motivation of preventing, or at least better investigating, criminal activity, how does this get us there?

    To start with, take backdoored encryption. How does this help? Say you could implement a perfect backdoor with a golden key that is physically and inextricably tied to a warrant. We've waved our magic wand and made all the problems and side effects vanish. What would that actually do?

    Scenario A., criminals communicate over the backdoored channel, and their communications are available to law-enforcement. At first blush, that sounds great, but then you realize that any criminal who communicates over an effectively open channel knows shit about OpSec, and their communications would likely have been able to be intercepted even without the backdoor. So, what does this really gain for us?

    Scenario B., criminals use a different, non-backdoored, encryption scheme to communicate. This will always be a possibility; you can't legislate the math from working. But, say you went a step further and flagged, or even outlawed, non-backdoored encryption. Then the bad guys will have to either communicate in the clear or risk being identified as bad guys, right? Of course not. Let's ignore for the moment simple codes (code phrases, book codes, etc.) which can be used to communicate securely over a compromised channel. You can implement full blown public key cryptography using steganograpgic encoding. The message would look like any other message in the channel, blending in with the noise, but could contain any amount of concealed information. So, what was the point, again?

    Weakening encryption will only hurt normal citizens. The "bad guys" either can be caught already without weakening encryption, or weakening encryption won't seriously impact them.

  • Apr 11th, 2016 @ 12:16am


    In case anyone else is trying to locate the source of that whooshing sound: It's a inversed reference to a '90s SitCom theme song.

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