Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Sep 19th, 2017 @ 1:31pm

    Where does the logic come from?

    Legislator: This is my bill to stop evil people.

    Analyst: This doesn't stop evil people at all. It simply wrecks a chunk of the economy.

    Legislator: Evil people use that chunk.

    Analyst: Way, way more good people use that chunk. And they'll suffer badly without that chunk. Also it won't stop the evil people from finding another chunk.

    Legislator: Well, this is my bill to stop evil people. Until you write a better bill to stop evil people, I'm going to put my support behind this one.

    Where do we get the idea that passing a bad law is better than passing no law? These are the motions of a drowning man climbing on and dunking nearby swimmers in desperation.

  • Sep 19th, 2017 @ 1:19pm

    Did you just use the "CNN is fake news" argument?

    Actually I don't watch CNN.

    No, I got that bit from here on Techdirt who got it from the CATO Institute.

    Feel free to cite sources of your own about (say) how ICE and CBP really are playing by the rules to be super-fair to those brown-skinned people they're detaining. I'm sure official statements from the departments will have statements to that effect.

  • Sep 18th, 2017 @ 11:38pm

    The CBP and ICE are already violating DoJ policy

    We've already seen Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement both act against orders as set by judges. They're under orders from the president to be ruthless in throwing out Latins, and that's what they're doing.

    They're not prioritizing felons in their arrest and detention of undocumented immigrants, despite policy and promises to do so.

    They're confiscating from some victims everything they own of value, as per civil forfeiture.

    They're arresting Americans and locking them up without access to council or resources by which to prove their citizenship before deporting them as if they were undocumented. They're doing the same to documented visitors, first confiscating their passports.

    They're deporting people to wherever they feel, often to nations other than country-of-origin. In many cases deported victims are delivered right into the hands of human traffickers.

    And no-one is stopping them, even when they gun people down in their tracks.

    So even if the ACLU and EFF are able to secure a ruling in their favor, I do not believe it's going to change the policies of law enforcement at the border, at least when it comes to non-whites. Not until officers start losing jobs or getting imprisoned, themselves.

  • Sep 18th, 2017 @ 10:35pm

    There is a lot of family trafficking...

    There's also a lot of non-family trafficking.

    More commonly, dysfunction within a family will drive a kid to seek emotional support outside of the household, which makes them super susceptible to pimps.

    In my own town there was a psychiatric teen outreach program sponsored by the YMCA and they'd catch kids in troubled homes and try to keep them from getting into other trouble. But I don't know their success rate.

    These days, foster kids and runaways are the easiest marks in the US (outside the US, small children are collected and exported out of China).

    But yes, the worst betrayal is when your parents are also your pimps. It's common but not the most common.

  • Sep 18th, 2017 @ 10:29pm

    Showing this will harm children...

    Section 230 assures that hosts of websites aren't liable for the content provided by end users. SESTA creates an exception, when human traffickers are using a site, say to advertise their trafficked sex workers.

    When a forum or classified-ad service (like Craigslist or Backpage) encounters something criminal on their site (say, a fraud racket), section 230 means they can contact law enforcement and cooperate with an investigation without fear of being persecuted themselves.

    Creating an exception for 230 regarding incidents of human trafficking means a website would have to do whatever it takes to prevent trafficking ads. The most obvious option is to stop allowing for user-generated content. This is what's happening with news services and media services that don't depend on user-generated content.

    For the rest, it's an unsolvable task. Even among big companies that can afford AI-driven automated moderation, that can be tricked, and is. But I'll get to that.

    Small businesses that could not afford defending themselves in court will all be doomed. All it would take is the presence of human traffickers, and a victim to decide to sue the company. Many companies that might start won't. Many companies that are operational might have to close than their hosts face jailtime.

    This probably includes those non-profits that provide online support services for human trafficking victims.

    It also means companies cannot cooperate with law enforcement. They can't report incidents if doing so is going to leave them liable to criminal prosecution.

    This also won't help arrest any actual traffickers, just the people whose sites they use.

    It's kinda like outlawing or hobbling motor vehicles because some people commit crimes with them.

    Then there's a matter of the monumental task of moderating sites that rely on user-content. A websites large enough to profit off user content require huge numbers of users, way too many to moderate by human power alone. In cases like Craigslist, they use algorithmic formulas (such as keywords) to flag ads for moderation. They also give end users the ability to flag (a couple of ticks may get a moderator's attention, where many ticks simply kill the ad). This wouldn't be enough to stop human trafficking ads entirely. So sites like Craigslist or Backpage will become untenable.

    Once those are gone, traffickers will resort to the same methods that other black-markets have used. They'll latch onto any forum that they can, and turn that into their market.

    Large companies like Google have tried create AI driven systems to automate screening for human trafficking, much like Youtube's system to screen for DMCA violations. They would work about just as well., which is to say they'd block legal, unrelated speech, including trafficking victims talking about their experiences.

    Meanwhile traffickers will do everything they can to get their advertising through to their clients. And our best AI is still susceptible to what is called adversarial examples which confuse the crap out of neural learning systems.

    And because human trafficking is all about making money, these guys don't care that they're wrecking the internet for the rest of us so they can have their bling and their wads of cash.

    So, how will this harm children, you ask?

    ~ Those children who are trafficked will not be able to get help or support on line, which for some is their only safe venue.

    ~ Incidents of trafficking will just go dark. They won't get reported to law enforcement (not from webhosts, at least). Actual traffickers will still traffic, they'll just continue to do so where law enforcement can't find them.

    ~ Those children who are not trafficked will lose a lot of kid-based internet services, since they'll be affected much like the rest of the internet.

    ~ Then there's the general hit the economy's going to take when we can no longer sell our used cars and wall-units-of-doom on the internet. This doesn't specifically target kids, but they're certainly within the blast zone.

  • Sep 17th, 2017 @ 11:04pm

    The Nth Country Experiment

    Oddly, it was that very example, the classification of nuclear weapon technology to keep it from proliferating that was the topic of a notable research experiment that demonstrated we couldn't depend on dangerous technology staying hidden from extremist regimes: It took about three man-years to develop the complete designs for a fat-man style implosion device.

    Fortunately, as North Korea's test history has shown us, nukes are delicate and nuanced, and it takes getting a lot of specific details just right to balance a bomb to get full yield.

    Regardless, even then, yes, as That One Guy observes, our agencies classify techniques and methods based on security through obscurity but enough methods have been discovered to be distasteful to the public (for example, extrajudicial detention and torture, and stowing communication throughput in mass for search and processing later). Really, by now our government's departments should have long since lost the privilege of hiding techniques, or even answering only to congressional review, since they obviously don't have the moral fiber to tell right from wrong, or know not to lie to congress while under oath.

    This is not to say that the people do, but with over-classification the public doesn't even have a voice, which is contrary to the notion of government by the people.

  • Sep 15th, 2017 @ 10:26pm

    Proportionate laws

    Have you been tracking the methods of ICE and CPB? They've arranged it so that the ride is far, far worse than the rap.

    Sometimes deadly worse.

  • Sep 15th, 2017 @ 10:24pm

    Everyone has antisocial thoughts.

    ...But we check our behavior due to social consequences.

    If power removes that check, it's a corruption, turning us into more primitive an animal than even our fellow mammals.

  • Sep 15th, 2017 @ 6:09pm

    No one's tried for decades.

    To be fair, neither Bush nor Obama nor Trump have sought to reform law enforcement in the United States. There have been only modest steps back of extensions of power that were set in place by the same guy(s), usually after some Loose Cannon Cop embarrassed agencies for counties around.

    We've not tried draining the LEO swamp.

    But smaller government only lifts those who remain beyond the reach of the law and accountability. Nice try, but we've already experienced millennia of tyrannical kings.

  • Sep 15th, 2017 @ 6:00pm

    A coup d'├ętat in progress

    One might hope, while we watch as law enforcement departments and agencies disconnect from all channels of accountability and openly disobey policies from their superiors in favor of their own, and police officers rob and murder the people with literal impunity (more killer officers were acquitted today), that there would be a clear point where too much was too much.

    We might start a commission and investigate intra-agency disobedience and dissent.

    We might declare agencies as rogue.

    We might disband them, or purge them by force, as necessary.

    But none of these indicators or processes are happening. Nobody is doing anything even when there's no accountability, no justice, no adherence to reasonable policy.

    If it takes too long, we may just find out one day that entire counties of the US public have been weimarred.

    That's a thing now. To weimar as a verb.

    Don't get weimarred.

  • Sep 15th, 2017 @ 2:40pm

    Intent is hard to prove or disprove.

    I think a lot of threats are made with the full intention to carry them out, if in a moment of outrage.

    The person may think better of it in a moment later, but it's still a threat made with intent.

    Regardless, when it happens here on line, it's considered poor form. And the police will use it to justify locking you up if they dislike you enough.

    For our sake, we just want consistency. If kids get locked up for quoting threatening rap lyrics on social media, then we should also take actors threatening to shoot pirates seriously, as we should take Trump's fire and fury comments.

    There shouldn't be privilege for politicians and media companies.

  • Sep 15th, 2017 @ 2:02pm

    Any time something is classified...

    ...and it's not operational intelligence about a current or recent operation...

    ...it's hiding corruption and wrongdoing.

    We need to get into the habit of assuming this is the case, always, until proven otherwise. Classified government records are never about service of the public interest.

  • Sep 15th, 2017 @ 1:53pm

    "Nobody is mistaking Netflix actors for actual hitmen"

    Maybe somebody intentionally should.

    Regardless there's the old argument: I'd have never gotten into Game of Thrones (the most recent season of which I purchased) without first pirating the crap out of it. And HBO knows that it is only through piracy that GoT is the cultural phenomenon it is.

    As for Narcos, I'm more than happy to not just ignore their show but actively avoid it on account of bad taste.

  • Sep 11th, 2017 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fail. (On your part)

    The problem with difficult-to-remember passwords is that they get written down somewhere.

    That's the point of the (encrypted) password manager is that a worker has to remember only ONE pile of gibberish (and not write it down) and the rest get remembered, assuming proper security hygiene (e.g. don't let someone shoulder surf while you're typing)

    I had assumed that Equifax's sin was the same as government agencies -- not taking computer security seriously enough -- but it sounds like they still think they're in the early nineties and don't keep up on the state-of-the-art protocols.

    Like the ones that suggest the worse vulnerabilities are between chair and keyboard.

    Well, hackers do.

    And they've got lists and lists of BCAK exploits.

  • Sep 11th, 2017 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Tough cases

    Shame on you for not doing your homework.

    BLM is not violent.

    There may be BLM associates who are violent the way that sometimes GOP associates bomb abortion clinics or assassinate abortion providing doctors, but BLM actively condemns and discourages violence, much the way the GOP does.

    (We'll set aside for now that members of the GOP often endorse -- loudly and proudly -- extra-judicial torture of civilians or drone-striking villages of innocents, which is endorsing violence.)

  • Sep 9th, 2017 @ 12:39pm


    Two- and Three-factor authentication for everything!

    Not a half-bad idea.

  • Sep 9th, 2017 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Pointless Lawsuit

    My experience of show biz, even off Broadway or Hollywood is that actors created a character square one: everything, from the resume to the gait used when dropping it off was a performance, a character that might hopefully be relatable to whoever did casting.

    So everything on your resume could be bullshit, and it's expected. They're not hiring an actor, they're hiring a character, and everyone presumes this is the case.

    I've heard that the casting couches are used less since the nineties, though I suspect they've just been moved to later rooms and interviews. Actors these days want to make sure they're fucking the money before they unhook their bras.

  • Sep 8th, 2017 @ 5:10pm

    Attractive older women at the local bar

    Perhaps you go to the wrong bars?

  • Sep 8th, 2017 @ 4:03pm

    Really it's only a matter of time

    ...before Humphrey Bogart, perfectly rendered via off-the-shelf CGI packages in perfectly rendered fictitious locations, and all the screen actors are out of work, replaced by digital puppets who are cheaper, and can be aged or regressed at will.

    Then the ageist casting staff won't have to be ageist at all.

  • Sep 8th, 2017 @ 3:54pm

    ROI on the War on Drugs

    Agencies are getting tons of money from the war on drugs and are making sure the guys who approve their budget increases are getting a cut. This isn't an ROI situation, it's a moral hazard.

    In the case of Big Media's campaign against piracy, it's a matter of possessiveness. Piracy typically results in more sales, not fewer, but once they've invested labor and capital into a thing, they become overdetermined to make sure no-one else benefits without paying them first, even if by the end result they make less money.

    The Game of Thrones new season is front page news, and this correlates with it being the most pirated show ever.

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