TKnarr’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Feb 12th, 2018 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Of course

    "Would you like a backdoor that only investigative journalists can access?"

  • Jan 30th, 2018 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Re:

    I'd argue that they did know how to run their services. They chose to build them without moderation, and they knew exactly how to run them that way. You're asking them to run them a different way, so it shouldn't be a surprise that they don't know how to run them in a way they didn't build them for. Whether they should've picked a different way of running things is another matter, but I'm not sure they're under any obligation to make their services useful to us (as opposed to useful to them). The traditional BBS sysop/netop answer to the issue is "If you don't like our rules and how we operate, feel free to go somewhere else. Push it and we'll help you along.".

    I'd also argue that you can't do moderation successfully on Internet scales. Every successful moderation system I know of depended on aspects of the system that services like Twitter and Google don't have any control over.

  • Jan 30th, 2018 @ 1:56pm

    (untitled comment)

    We might want to go back even further, to look at moderation in bulletin-board networks and services like CompuServe and Genie all the way back into the 80s. The insights garnered from those are still applicable today, although unfortunately most of them lead to depressing conclusions about the feasibility of successful moderation at current scales.

  • Jan 16th, 2018 @ 10:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Deliberately choosing to be a sharecropper is a bad move

    Point of order: a party you contract with directly is a second party, not a third party. Just make sure that your contract provides for sufficient penalties for failure to perform (ie. screwing up royally). The single-point-of-failure point is, yes, spot-on, and avoiding SPoF is easier when you contract directly for services.

  • Dec 12th, 2017 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: If FCC has no clue...

    Already noted: this administration doesn't want the FCC to be an objective expert, and they don't want the markets to operate properly. They want to cater to their friends/donors, so they put in representatives from their party (who make up a majority of the FCC board, including the chairman's slot) who'll do exactly that. See? That wasn't so hard, was it?

  • Dec 12th, 2017 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: If FCC has no clue...

    Yes, there is a basic flaw. It's name is Ajit Pai. Or more specifically, the flaw is in the GOP appointees' desire to deliver what their financial supporters want over what most benefits the public or even what the public overwhelmingly says they want. The fact that it was only after Ajit Pai got control that things went pear-shaped should be the first clue.

  • Dec 12th, 2017 @ 10:42am

    (untitled comment)

    It sounds like this isn't a blanket warrant requirement, the recipient can still voluntarily turn over the messages resulting in clean evidence (absent an assertion of coercion by the police) since the recipient isn't bound by the same rules as law enforcement is. The warrant requirement hits only when the recipient declines the request and the police want to take the device and go rummaging through it themselves. So your privacy still depends in part on the other party, it just doesn't automatically vanish completely merely because there's another party.

  • Nov 28th, 2017 @ 12:46pm


    One thing municipalities might do is turn to right-of-way leases. The ISPs may own the poles, but the city or county usually owns the majority of the rights-of-way those poles sit on and leases access to it to the various utilities that need poles. They should look at the terms of those leases with an eye towards requirements for shared access that don't depend on local or state laws to enforce. If there aren't any suitable terms, the next time the lease comes up for renewal terms requiring utilities perform all actions needed for shared access within 30 days of the request (with penalties involving either the requesting party being able to perform the work themselves or the utility that failed to get things done losing it's lease) should be added and made non-negotiable. Then the FCC's out of the picture because it's remit doesn't extend to regulating the terms cities and counties must lease access to real estate under.

  • Oct 27th, 2017 @ 6:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    To quote from the complaint:

    On March 19, 2017, Google/YouTube publicly admitted that they improperly censored videos using their restricted mode filtering that were posted or produced by members of the LGBTQ community based on the identity and orientation of the speaker rather than the content of the video.

  • Oct 27th, 2017 @ 12:37pm


    And multiple non-conservative voices have been filtered this way as well. The fact-based conclusion is what's stated above: YouTube's filtering sucks. And it won't ever not suck. The laws of physics and statistics are stacked against it.

    I find his complaints amusing solely because it's conservatives (specifically religious conservatives) who've been the primary voices asking for filtering because they don't want their kids exposed to sex, violence, gambling, video games, non-traditional family structures, other religions, science, pretty much anything that doesn't completely agree with the Bible (usually defined as the King James Bible or one of the variants derived from it).

  • Oct 26th, 2017 @ 4:48pm


    Seattle and San Francisco have an advantage here: the presence of lots of companies whose entire business turns on connectivity to termination points (Internet exchanges and routing hubs), plus lots of companies who're in the business of deploying fiber on a national scale (the companies who operate the backbones). Not that it's hard for any city anywhere to get consultants with that same experience. I know a couple people off-hand with decades of experience deploying national networks, whether copper, fiber, wireless or any other tech you can dredge up.

  • Oct 23rd, 2017 @ 8:32pm

    (untitled comment)

    So, as I read it, you have to buy a token to use the protocol. And as the protocol gets more popular, the price of tokens is supposed to increase which should logically encourage people not to adopt the protocol but to use alternatives. Whoever proposed this scheme doesn't understand network protocols at all. Bitcoin, for instance, isn't a protocol. It's an application which uses a protocol to communicate between nodes and to store data, but the monetary value is in the stored data, not in the storage or communications protocols. I say dump this proposal on the scrap-heap along with all the other technical proposals created by technically-illiterate managerial types.

  • Oct 20th, 2017 @ 3:14pm

    (untitled comment)

    The judge might consider something even more drastic: not only adding the tribe as a plaintiff but removing Allergan as a plaintiff. After all, according to Allergan's own claims they don't hold the patent and therefore don't have standing to sue the PTAB over the proceedings. They used to have standing, but they gave it up when they sold the patent and now they're merely a licensee. That should just make Allergan's day.

  • Oct 18th, 2017 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Yep...

    The suggestion still allows those without completely-registered accounts or with no prior history to judge them on to have their say. It just doesn't let them shove their way into my notification feed and my attention. That's the way the world works: when you're a newcomer to a community with no history in it people don't pay nearly as much attention to what you say as they do to a long-time member with a rich history of making good points. If you intend to be a long-term member of the community the lack of history remedies itself in relatively short order. If all you want is to have other people notice you screaming and react to you... sooooo not my problem.

  • Oct 16th, 2017 @ 3:08pm

    (untitled comment)

    I'm of the opinion that employment contracts are one of the areas with the least need for this law. What's needed there is the rule that an NDA cannot limit the making of a criminal or civil complaint nor the testimony a witness may give under oath (whether at trial or in a deposition), but is grounds for having the case or testimony sealed unless a judge rules it should not be.

    It's in other areas like general terms of service that there needs to be more of an absolute bar on unilaterally-imposed NDAs. It's one thing for a highly-paid software engineer to agree to an NDA as part of their employment agreement, it's another thing for a minimum-wage cashier and another time-zone completely for someone going to the dentist to have to agree to an NDA just to get an exam.

  • Oct 13th, 2017 @ 3:57pm


    Well, there's no penalty for suing everyone in sight. The company lawyers' time costs the same whether they're working or not, and filing fees are trivial by comparison. It'll only stop when the various PTOs stop merely denying the challenge and start ordering the challenger to pay the winner's costs. That will show up as an actual cost in the financials, which is the only thing the MBAs running the companies pay attention to.

  • Oct 13th, 2017 @ 12:13pm

    Re: The entire FCC broadcast system violates the First Ammendment

    Aside from the fact that VHF and UHF spectrum in the ranges allocated for TV broadcasts (and in practice it's only the VHF bands that are available, most homes that have antennas don't have UHF antennas), there's physical plant involved. TV broadcast transmitters and antennas need to be tuned to the channel frequency being used, which for those frequencies and power levels requires specific transmitter hardware and antenna emitter element physical dimensions. If a TV station doesn't know what channel it'll be assigned, it can't build it's broadcast station or it'll have to make very expensive physical changes to the existing one. Hence why broadcast licenses are virtually permanently nailed down: changes are just too disruptive to let happen for reasons short of ones that'll put the station out of business permanently.

    Legacy communications channels have a lot of inertia associated with them that don't exist with Internet technology that was designed to easily handle multiple channels of traffic over the same physical infrastructure.

  • Oct 11th, 2017 @ 10:08pm

    Copyright transfer

    Does the agreement include a legally-applicable (ie. names the work involved) copyright transfer clause? If not, then simply alter the upload to include a checkbox saying "I am the author of this paper and hold the copyright on it.". Then whenever C.R.S. sends a takedown for a paper where the uploader checked that box, ResearchGate simply sends back a reply saying "$NameOfAuthor has stated that he holds the copyright and has not authorized you to act as his agent in copyright matters. Per Section 230, we will not take the material down a court ruling of infringement.".

  • Oct 5th, 2017 @ 3:41pm

    Re: crypto fans are being disingenuous

    This was already tried. Look up the history of the Clipper chip. It used your proposed mechanism: encrypting the message with an additional key that was escrowed with the government. The entire mechanism was so vulnerable that the Clipper chip was abandoned only 3 years after it was introduced.

    You can find one of the papers analyzing the architectural (not implementation-dependent) vulnerabilities here:

  • Sep 29th, 2017 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Good lord!

    Because their employment agreement includes a clause saying anything they invent is the property of their employer and that they'll execute any documents necessary for their employer to exploit those inventions for profit.

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