Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jul 27th, 2015 @ 6:42pm

    The Ukraine as in the borderlands

    I.e the borderlands of the USSR.

    Ukraine without the article is, instead, the name of the country, which deserves to be expressed as its own thing rather than in relationship to someone else.

    As an old cold war fogey, I still get it wrong too.

  • Jul 27th, 2015 @ 1:18pm

    Cynical Russians and Ukranians

    I'm going to give the people of both nations the benefit of the doubt and assume they are at least as cynical as we are in the west.

    Their history, literature and vodka-making skills certainly play that out.

  • Jul 27th, 2015 @ 1:12pm

    That's a pretty big supposition

    I don’t think we’re entirely done with the question of whether it’s okay for a search engine to link to criminal content on the web when the technology exists to identify and omit that content from search results.

    Is this a philosophical argument over a conjectural supposition?

    Because in the real world, you're going to need to specify what kind of criminal content (are we talking child porn or copyright violations?) and what kind of process is required to identify and remove it.

    From what I understand about child porn, for instance, is that media files are analyzed for color spectrum and those with certain properties are flagged and then human beings go through the (countless) flagged files to determine whether or not they constitute child porn. That's not exactly technology, so much as a process with human techs in the middle.

    And as has been seen on YouTube, the automated content detection system is lousy with incidents of blocking false positives and still has a substantial number of false negatives. So the technology in this case is dubious at best and pretty much just succeeds at annoying everybody.

    So to say that technology exists is a presumption that delves into science fiction. Indulging that, search engines that censor results are going to struggle to compete with search engines that provide more comprehensive results, and will have to counter that with aesthetics, convenience, better search tools and and other features. In other words, it would have to take the Yahoo route to encourage people to go their first, and then choose lesser-featured engines when the engine of choice fails to yield results.

    That said, since P2P-related content is omitted from Google search results (whether or not they're criminal) I simply don't go to Google when looking for P2P-related content.

  • Jul 27th, 2015 @ 12:50pm

    I wonder if the DoD Ravioli was real.

    Now I'm hungry.

  • Jul 27th, 2015 @ 12:45pm

    Arms manufacturers still license the likenesses of their guns to video game manufacturers.

    It's one of the reasons why many games have guns that look a lot like real guns but are named differently and often have different characteristics.

    For a while I was developing an open source fictional gun library of game assets that would allow for a consistent set of guns that behaved similarly across multiple games.

    This presents yet another good reason to finish building such a library.

  • Jul 27th, 2015 @ 12:08pm

    Google can help with MPAA, SOPA

    Also Wikipedia, both abbreviations link directly, so these are not unambiguous terms.


  • Jul 26th, 2015 @ 6:17pm

    Re: This is a baseless smear on journalists at NBC Universal and News Corp

    I am presently incarcerated, imprisoned for a crime I did not even commit. "Attempted murder," now honestly, did they ever give anyone a Nobel prize for "attempted chemistry?"

  • Jul 26th, 2015 @ 1:29pm

    Corruption is a moral hazard.

    When lobbying and cronyism provide a better profit increase than making product and there is no consequence to engaging in these behaviors*, it creates a moral hazard, and corporations are going to engage in those behaviors.

    * This includes all scenarios in which consequence can be nullified, circumvented, reduced or delayed so that they're out of the scope of the current corporate management.

  • Jul 25th, 2015 @ 12:58pm

    Corruption getting worse.

    I think corruption is getting worse with time, as is to be expected in a system like ours with progressing regulatory capture, but I also think corruption is more visible given the internet provides a vector by which news is disseminated without interference by media owners and sponsors.

    Right now, it seems companies are still unused to the new leaky information model so were seeing a lot of of their malfeasant behavior that they're used to doing without consequence.

    Optimistically, this will prove an influence to reduce corruption due to fear of consequence. Cynically, I suspect they'll just start internet disinformation programs of their own in order to obfuscate real news that leaks.

  • Jul 25th, 2015 @ 1:27am

    Actually it's "Corporate Oligarchy"

    ...according to a Princeton study.

  • Jul 24th, 2015 @ 5:58pm

    Man someone should modernize and remake...

    ...Sorry, Wrong Number, 1948 (actually a 1943 radio play).

    A telephone operator error misconnects bedridden Leona Stevenson so that she overhears two men plotting a murder over the phone and has to convince the police it's the real deal.

    Heh. Buttdial makes a great name and premise.

  • Jul 24th, 2015 @ 12:21pm

    Raid for money laundering...

    Let me rephrase that then.

    Even if Dotcom is guilty of money laundering infringement that doesn't justify ICE's raid.

    But considering that ICE was accompanied by MPAA advisors it appears they were more interested in copyright infringement, or at least appeasing the MPAA, who really had no cause to be at the Dotcom estate. The money laundering accusation remains dubious, and the necessary evidence wouldn't be at the Dotcom residence, rather in public records.

    The double irish thing is abhorrent, but it was at the time "the law".

    Interesting how you dismiss that, and don't even discuss my other examples, which have individually done far more damage to the world economy than Kim Dotcom could do with a lifetime of his schemes. This brings doubt to your sense of justice. It sounds like you are less about getting bad guys or guys who ruin it for the rest of us, but are out to specifically get Kim.

    Maybe he kicked your puppy or something when you guys were mates

    yeah, total bastards, trying to stop a criminal and all.

    Sounds like once you're convinced someone's a black-hat you don't care about the truth so long as he's gotten. There are plenty in the US DoJ and courts that have a similar mindset, and that alone is adequate justification to avoid them like a Soviet gulag.

    Even more conspicuous is your adherence to the notion that the US justice system is infallible (at least enough so to continue their contemporary methods with your blessing). That would include civil forfeiture, prosecutory discretion, surveillance overreach (and disregard of privacy), excessive SWAT raids, brutality with impunity, mandatory minimums, secret courts, secret interpretations of law.

    If you would do me the favor and address these particulars (pro or con) I can get a better sense of why you would subject anyone to the US justice system and call it the service of justice, let alone Dotcom.

    Either you really love and worship US law enforcement, or you deride and revile Kim Dotcom. Either way, it seems beyond rationality, and it's probably a good thing you're not in a position of authority regarding this case... or any case, for that matter.

  • Jul 24th, 2015 @ 11:13am

    I should mention...

    ...the CIA hacked phone thing has been around since at least the 60s. Usually some guys from the phone company would come in in coveralls to fix that recent static problem, and install the dialing module.

  • Jul 24th, 2015 @ 11:10am

    Yeah, I would assume that serious spies, terrorists and conspirators know not to butt-dial.

    This isn't a new phenomenon. Stories of unsupervised toddlers in the 70s 911ing the police while their parents were stoned are part of urban legend.

    Now if your phone's been hacked to occasionally dial the CIA so they can listen in on what you're doing, that sounds like a breach of privacy expectation.

  • Jul 23rd, 2015 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re: Money laundering?

    But I'm not seeing the part where he broke copyright law, any more than he provided a tool which could be used to pass along criminal data, but was also often used to pass along legitimate data (much of which was lost and never recovered after the seizure).

    As for the system of companies, I'm not sure if this is particularly less ethical than the double irish and a dutch sandwich tax evasion scheme, or Bain Capital's company-acquisition-bankrupting scheme or the credit-overexertion scheme that caused the real-estate bubble or the LIBOR misinformation debacle that did a bit to wreck the entire world economy, yet there were no SWAT-style raids on anyone's houses, nor extradition issues on the accounts of any of these affairs.

    I don't know much about Kim Dotcom, and he may be a total jackass, but I do know about Al Capone, and he was a murdering SOB, yet because we got him due to creative interpretations of the law, it's since become conventional to allow for creative legal interpretations to convert anyone else that the DoJ deems a bad guy. And today, bad-guys include you or me if ever we find ourselves on the inside of a police cruiser. Getting Capone wasn't worth the integrity of our justice system.

    Even if Dotcom is guilty of copyright infringement that doesn't justify ICE's raid. It doesn't justify seizing his assets or labeling him a fugitive. It certainly didn't justify telling his legitimate clients to GFY because they dared to do business with what the MPAA decided was a villain.

    Regardless of what Dotcom has done, what the DoJ has done is far, far worse, and reflects on what they'd do to you or me, if ever someone in their ranks wanted to destroy us.

    That's the problem. And whatever you think of Dotcom himself is irrelevant to that problem.

  • Jul 23rd, 2015 @ 7:24pm

    "A system of many checks and balances"

    The failure of the US justice system has been revealed by the treatment of whistleblowers in the current era, and by our sizable prison population which remains larger per capita than any other nation in the world.

    And this is not even getting into the treatment of our prisoners.

    But even the state itself doesn't trust the judicial integrity of its own court system as demonstrated by our administration's unwillingness to let our extrajudicial prisoners at camp X-Ray their due process, allegedly on the fear that they might be find arbitrarily innocent the way that so many common US citizens are found arbitrarily guilty.

    Even the notion of civil forfeiture doesn't make sense if the justice system worked. In that case no prosecution would be afraid of the kind of defense that a large budget could provide, since, in a not quite perfect system, justice would be seen regardless of the quality of defense. The wealth of the defendant should not be a factor in the courts enough to warrant an asset seizure program.

    Police privilege, prosecutory discretion, biased judges and a heaving sell of plea-bargains are now notorious elements of the US courts to favor guilty convictions and jail time of innocent Americans.

  • Jul 23rd, 2015 @ 6:54pm

    I don't think human rights should be assessed by compare-and-contrast.

    It's not enough for one country to (say) discriminate against women then to say Yes, but our enemy tortures dissenters and uses napalm on civilian targets.

    Even if your neighbor / enemy / whoever is truly despicable in how they human lives, it doesn't make you less despicable when you do so as well, only less, or to a different group, or according to religious doctrine, or were recently attacked so everyone is paranoid.

    Human rights are human rights, and when our children are hungry, when we disappear and torture innocent souls, when we distrust each other enough that we need to spy on each other, all should keep us awake at night. Even when the enemy is processing people into food snacks and using human blood to water their gardens.

    Respecting human rights to do better then the other guys is bullshit. We should respect human rights just to do better.

  • Jul 23rd, 2015 @ 3:41pm

    This is Standard Operating Procedure for the Senate?

    That alone is cause enough for our state to be the messed-up quagmire that it has become.

    The old James Madison gem seems appropriate:

    It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.

    -- The Federalist #62, Wednesday, February 27, 1788

  • Jul 23rd, 2015 @ 3:29pm

    Re: If you're talking about mainstream media...

    It looks like the media blackout regarding the TPP has become conspicuous enough that media watch groups are reporting on the lack of coverage.

  • Jul 23rd, 2015 @ 3:13pm

    If you're talking about mainstream media...

    Yeah, of course the news channels don't mention it except as a new, generic trade deal. I've not seen much advertising about how great it's going to be (or even what it will do). Much like NAFTA. It's a trade agreement. Don't worry your pretty little heads about it.

    But Google searches (well, DDG searches) for TPP reveals plenty of pages on ZOMG WE GOTTA STOP THIS THING!, with varying degrees of alarm, but there's a consensus at the top of the search results that TPP is way bad news.

    And there are numerous activism fronts who are very serious about the TPP not happening.

    So I'd like to imagine they're prepping to do another SOPA blackout at some point, or some other major publication campaign, since all the SOPA stuff is in TPP and more.

    I haven't seen the plan, but I haven't really looked either.

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