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  • Oct 8th, 2015 @ 9:07pm

    (untitled comment)

    The true difference I think (opinion, nothing more) is that all American things are rooted in absolutism. You must have absolute free speech or you have none, you must have absolute access to guns or you have none, etc. The American constitution basically defines things in absolute ways, and odern society has taken them to their nth degree limits.

    The usual phrase is "your rights end where my nose begins".

    The European version is much different. It's much more "your rights ends at the defined and somewhat expanding bubble of my rights". There is a certain amount of extra space given to the individual rather than to everyone else.

    Put another way, the US freedoms are based on in many ways not so much personal rights as much as what the public's rights are against your space, and you get what is left. The EU versions seem to be much more based on creating the personal space, and defining the public's rights in consequence of that.

    The difference is quite simple: Americans can say, report, share, and take pictures of things that might not be entirely acceptable in the EU (and many other places, it should be said). One of the reasons many Hollywood stars relocate to places like the South of France is to take advantage of much stronger anti-paparazzi laws which give them much more privacy.

    The US constitution is an amazing document, but since it was written so long ago, perhaps doesn't entirely reflect on modern life or consider the implications in a modern world. The second amendment is an abomination, allowing the wholesale production, distribution, and carrying or firearms - in a country with huge amounts of gun crime, inuries, and murders. It allows free speech from the likes of the Westboro church... and so on. It's absolute and inflexible and while is represents freedom, it often seems to prove that absolute anything isn't a good solution.

  • Oct 7th, 2015 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Comments can be valuable, but...

    Amazing personal attack, absolutely irrelevant to the discussion. Too bad people here aren't as fast to report your wildly off topic flames as they are others.

  • Oct 7th, 2015 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Yes, I did and it was very lacking. Hence the fact I addressed your other comments (responses you have ignored, of course)."

    Generally, you don't address them, you just dismiss them, confusing conjecture with fact and opinion with certainty.

    I expressed an opinion. You said "it's not universally true" - and I never claimed it was.

    "As you do in ever damn article you comment upon here, you mean? Glad you admit you're not honest."

    Keeping it classy, Thankfully anyone reading this exchange can tell you have an axe to grind. Go grind it on someone else, I don't need your grief.

  • Oct 6th, 2015 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I am very interested in different experiences. Your personal experience is valuable to you and represents and single data point out of billions. It's incredibly important not to paint the world based on your personal opinion alone.

    See, the Harry Potter thing. I gave you a citation (solid news story about a huge decline in teen reading levels) and you ignore it. It's not just my opinion, it's backed up by a study, by data, and by information. You ignored it, and just attacked me personally. Too bas, you missed a chance to consider something other than your own personal experience and bias.

    "What would you like a citation for? "

    Any of it. I understand the stuff is your opinion. Unlike you, I am more than willing to accept it as your opinion (and respect you for having one). However, where data is available, it's better to work with facts rather than conjecture. So I gave you facts, and you waved your hand and said "Citation, or are you pulling your personal opinion out again as if it counts for something?" - you didn't check the link, did you? The point would be clear.

    An honest person wouldn't come to the discussion pre-judging by the name of the writer, but by the content. Alas, you don't appear to be that honest, my friend.

  • Oct 6th, 2015 @ 8:49am


    I think you have a very valid point here. If the data was encrypted, then it was nominally in compliance with EU law, and generally NSA (and anyone else) couldn't capture it and decode it at a reasonable level.

    So, if NSA did in fact capture this guys data from Facebook (or some other source) then the implication is that they moved the data via insecure, un-encrypted methods, in violation of EU policy in the matter. NSA doesn't generally have the keys to decrypt the data, someone had to do it for them.

    While what NSA was doing may be deplorable, it doesn't in any way excuse poor data handling. NSA only would obtain the data if it was moved without encryption. Proper (and compliant) data handling would have resolved the issue before it happened.

    So let's not have a rush to judgement.

  • Oct 6th, 2015 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Deja Vu

    I agree with you completely. The article suggests that the full simulator costs $3000, and that they are somehow dishonest by pricing it in bits and pieces rather than as a whole. Yet, the reality (including the notes put forth by the company) suggest otherwise, that they expect most people to buy the base simulator and a few additional items to suit their tastes and preferences, not a $3000 catalog of options.

    Shaming is in itself shameful.

  • Oct 6th, 2015 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: Why is Techdirt continually reporting on this?

    It may actually increase the dialog, at least in one direction. CNN as an example has disabled comments on many posts (almost all) because every post turned into a flame war between the "libtards" and the "tea baggers" (and other names, much worse). CNN's back and forth dialog may have ceased, but the value of their writing remains, now unblemished by senseless flaming that followed each item before.

    What I am hoping is that these news sites can find a better way to engage people. That may mean offered longer form "op-ed" space or having better twitter and facebook discussions about the news. Losing the comments altogether is a steep price, but the overwhelming amount of negativity, hatred, and outright fighting wasn't advancing the dialog at all. Moving it to Facebook, as an example, may in fact be improving the dialog, just not in a way you are as comfortable with.

  • Oct 6th, 2015 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Comments can be valuable, but...

    I also get yours, which is try to paint me for what I am not. I am just a guy who's opinion may not match yours. That's all. Turning everything into a personal insult against me just proves that comment moderation here fails, as your open flames should have long ago been deleted.

  • Oct 6th, 2015 @ 4:15am

    (untitled comment)

    I think the author misses the point that most people would have little interest in getting all 3000 of the add ons, and are much more likely to select a very limited set based on personal preferences. Thinking of it as an imcomplete product with expensive add-ons would appear to be a poor representation of the product.

    Rather, it's a reasonable price basic starter with reasonably priced and very specific adds ons for people to customize the simulator based on what they want to do. This appears to be the best way to address the marketplace and make it economically viable to produce all of these add ons.

    It seems like a perfectly reasonable business strategy that also meets the desires of the players of the simulator.

  • Oct 6th, 2015 @ 3:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Whereas you offered nothing but your personal opinion as well. But, yours count and mine doesn't, right? You weren't lying for once, but you're still a hypocrite."

    Thanks for proving where the personal attacks come from on this site. Way to keep it classy! (oh, and at least I provided a link to back up my view... you, well... not so much).

  • Oct 6th, 2015 @ 2:01am

    Re: Re:

    Hi Paul, glad you can manage to disagree with me across the board with nothing more than personal experience to back it up!

    Bottom up: Harry Potter was actually an EXCEPTION to the rule, not the rule. My time in elementary school and high school I consumed at least one fiction or non-fiction book a week as relax time reading. I visited the library regularly, my parents would buy me plenty of books to read, and yes, I even traded books with friends. If you checked my school bag, there was always a personal read book in there along with the school work.

    These days it more likely that the kid has a smart phone and is playing a game or sending LOL style text messages. It's just how things have gone. But hey, don't take my word for it:


    TV shows: The disposible nature of TV shows should mean that books are easier to find, because they have durability and long term appeal. That's just not what you can see out there. Instead, it's hard to find digital editions of books being pirated in a widespread way, and I think that is more due to a dispersed marketplace with not enough critical mass to make it work. P2P requires critical mass to work, without it, there is a lack of content.

    Travel: Next time you are on a plane, have a look around you. You will find people reading magazines, you will find people reading books, and you will find people reading newspapers. A few will be doing the digital thing, but most of them are still dragging around dead tree editions. Guess what? They always work, you don't have to recharge them and you don't need a web connection to get to the stuff. Dead trees are amazingly reliable that way!

    But hey, disagree with me if you must. Oh, the sky is blue. HAve at it!

  • Oct 5th, 2015 @ 10:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Comments can be valuable, but...

    "Just because you allow something to be open to discussion, does not mean that it must be open for whatever comments come no matter what. Off topic can be pruned, full abuse can be pruned, incomprehensible ravings can be pruned. "

    Read the rest of my comment. Often the efforts required to do so are way too much for a site to handle. It's a ton of work, and if it's not really adding value to the site, perhaps it's just not worth the costs and manpower to do so.

    "I find that there are many off-topic posts that start very interesting discussions. "

    Yes, that is true. However, many off topic posts also lead to bickering, flame wars, and out and out fights. The dicussions may be useful in a forum or on an opinion based site like Techdirt, but may not be appropriate on a news site. A news site full of bickering, name calling, and off topic posts may not encourage people to return.

    My point only is that open comments are not an absolute - they are not needed on every site, on every post, all the time.

    "Pot calling kettle black."

    Perfect description of your lightly concealed flame post. Carry on.

  • Oct 5th, 2015 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Comments can be valuable, but...

    Alas, Chris, the problem at hand is the belief that everything has to be open for discussion. That means that everytime you say something, it must be open for whatever comments come not matter what.

    I tend to agree with you - it's often incompatible with the goals of a given site. Between the comment spam and off topic postings, most new comment sections are useless anyway. The costs and efforts required to police the comment sections are not small.

    Many sites runs wordpress as their backend for news sites. Let's just say that comments in wordpress are not only more difficult to moderate, but it is also an insanely popular and fixed input system, which comment spammers love. Opening a wordpress site to comments pretty much signs your life away if you intend to moderate the comments at all:


    I actually think that comments at this point have reached a similar point that email reached a long time ago: The ratio of good to bad got so far out of hand, that people started to take steps to turn from an open system of "accept all mail" to whitelist solutions. That in many ways is the only way that email continues to survive.

    Finally, there is one other thing that news organizations face that most of the rest us won't have to deal with: Getting a Drudging. That happens when Drudge Report posts up a link with an outrageous headline (Libs Planning to Take Your Guns and Shoot You With them!), and then every conservative nutjob on the planet shows up to post obnoxious, poorly informed attacks on the site, the writer, and anyone who happens to agree in any way with that the site has posted. It has to be very discouraging for readers of a site to see their opinions trashed at every turn to satisfy someone else's agenda. There is a point where turning of the comments helps to stop this mindless war of words.

  • Oct 5th, 2015 @ 4:29pm

    (untitled comment)

    Stagnation isn't only down to DRM or a lack of fonts and layouts. Rather, it's also down to the reasons we read and how we would use the product.

    Most of us spend hours a day in front of a computer screen, or using a tablet or smart phone. A book is often a get away from all of that. While there are people who have e-readers and there are some obvious benefits, many readers prefer to disconnect and put down the devices and get back to a nice, tactile, easy to handle book. You don't have to plug it in, it just works. Toss it in your backback, shoulder bag, brief case, or whatever and you have instant entertainment that specifically ISN'T more electronic screen.

    The easiest way to spot that the marketplace isn't trending as hard to electronic is to look at the piracy marketplace. With the DRM removed and all that, there still isn't that huge of a demand in ebooks that I could find. There is some, certainly, and some big ebook sites have been shut down. But in general terms, it's way easier to find a pirated episonde of your favorite tv show than it is to find an ebook.

    I would also suggest that perhaps the younger end of the adult market may not be so inclined to buy a book to start with. A long form anything may not be something they look for. Demographics may run against ebooks.

  • Oct 2nd, 2015 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Banks are services too, but for sure they get really fussy over handing the details of their customers even on criminal cases. Unless you got a valid court order and a proper case, don't expect them to get it, and even then, they fight it to the bitter end."

    I am not suggesting they give out information WITHOUT a court order - but if a case is in front of a court and a motion is made to obtain the information, I don't think an ISP should be playing defense for customers. If they are a dumb pipe, they should do the same as phone companies - the court issues a warrant, you give the information and it ends there. Currently every attempt to get a warrant or perform discovery for ISP information turns into a huge and protracted legal battle, which makes no sense. All it does is stop a valid legal process from moving forward.

    "So yeah, before you start fixing the small guys, go after the big ones."

    That is the silly "but officer, the other car was driving faster" excuse. We thankfully don't deal with things only a highest priority basis and everything else stops, otherwise we would be as a country completely locked on North Korea's nukes and totally unable to deal with paying out welfare or renewing a drivers license.

    Are their biggest evils out there? Always. Even when you get to the biggest (say like Trump's hair stylist) there is always something more evil (like TMZ). No matter how hard you try, there is always something "worse". You can spend all your time spinning your wheels finding the next even worse thing, or you can put your shoulder to the wheel and get something done about the situation in front of you.

    Oh, and Volkswagon's CEO is subject of a criminal investigation and there is a big potential that he ends up in prison. His golden handshake (whatever it may be) won't be worth what he will have to pay for it - potentially most of his remaining natural life.

    That evil will be taken care of, can you move along?

  • Oct 1st, 2015 @ 11:18pm

    Re: Re:

    "Actually there is no difference whatsoever. The CDA is only useful for protecting the ISP, an intermediary which takes no action. Suing a website because someone said something defamatory on it is as stupid as suing the telephone company because someone said something defamatory over the phone, or suing Bic because someone wrote something defamatory with a ballpoint pen. It doesn't protect the actual tortfeasor, however."

    The problem is an ISP really is the company that provides your home (or business) internet connection, not one who provides a website and incorporates your contributions into their selected format and presentation.

    These companies are not "dumb pipes" similar to a phone company. They are the printed newspaper, not the people selling newsprint. They are the information system you reach by calling them on the phone, not the phone company. Nobody is suggesting "sue your ISP".

    The biggest issue of the discussion is that section 230 is TOO inclusive, and almost everything online has been stuffed under that tent. All they need is a "user contributed" or "we just host your stuff" claim, and boom, they are section 230 exempt, even if they set the format, define the methods, and even require that you assign them copyright over your "content" to be on their service. They choose how you are seen, how you are distributed, what ads and content appear around your "content", they control how discussions happen and how your content is shared... yet somehow, doing all of that, they want to claim to be the same as the cable or phone company that provided you a modem and an open line to the net.

    It doesn't add up. What it's created is a situation where nobody is truly responsible for anything, perhaps summing up perfectly the overall online attitude - it's like endless 4chan.

  • Oct 1st, 2015 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

    What a boatload of "I never said any of that" crap. I know people love to try to put words in other people's mouths, but you have perhaps taken top prize.

    I didn't say go after ISPs. I also did not say go after hosts. I think that both an ISP (ie, the company that gives you a connection to the internet) and a pure hosting company (ie, one who provides a server (cloud, virtual, or full)should have the full section 230 as it stands. They have absolutely no influence over the content on a given site. They are literally and clearly the pipes.

    The problem for me is that I don't think a site like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is only a host or an ISP. They are a service, this is true, but one that differs greatly from an ISP (your unfettered connection to the net) or a host (your unfettered server connected on the net). Sites which mandate how, when, and why your content will be shown, who build pages of ads, links, and promotion around your content, and who provide the means by which is can be republished and re-shared to me cross a line from "unfettered connection" pipe provider and become more of a partner.

    I would say it's even more obvious when dealing with a site that requires that you sign away your rights or grant license to them for your content in order to be on their "service". That most certainly looks like a variation on a commercial publishing deal, and not just a "dumb pipe".

    So, to put it simply: I don't think your ISP should monitor your internet traffic. I do think that an ISP should in the long run be obligated to be able to match IP address to a connection point / end user account (but yes, I know, an IP isn't always an individual user). I don't think a server hosting company who provides bare metal servers and the like should monitor your usage or content.

    I do think that a site like facebook, instagram, and the like should have the obligation to log freely provided user information in regards to use of their service (IP, browser headers, username, email used to confirm account if so used, etc), and should be obligated to provide that information when required as part of a legal process (civil or criminal) without making a big legal fuss over it.

    Why? The current combination of section 230 and obstructionist "service" providers leads to a problem where the "service" doesn't accept responsibility for what appears on their website / service, yet at the same time stands in obstruction against finding out who may have put it there. Some services go out of their way to try to avoid retaining any logging or information in this regard, just to help people avoid their legal responsibility.

    Real world parallel: Let's say you decide to put up "Mike Masnick has a dog fetish" stickers all over the valley, with links to a bestiality site. Now, we can be pretty confident that this is not true, is a lie, and would be potentially damaging to his credibility. In the course of legal action, it might be considered normal to request the video surveillance from the various establishments that had the stickers in them, looking for "common visitors" between the various places.

    Nobody is asking the shops to card and record the personal details of every visitor, but video surveillance is perfect normal for most businesses these days. When you visit a website, your browser headers give certain information that while not personally identifiable, can create a somewhat distinct profile. That information is provided every time you request something (page, graphic, whatever) and is generally logged at some level on the remote server - even if it's just in say Apache's access.log file. I don't see that information being any different from surveillance footage.

    At some point, sites which provide more than just a "dumb pipe" service need to bear at least some responsibility to keep their sites and services from becoming cesspools and legal blinds from which hateful and illegal "speech" can be lobbed like grenades.

  • Sep 30th, 2015 @ 8:32pm

    Re: The real problem is you want to blame someone else

    "So you want a gigantic internet OFF switch."

    Umm, no, and a horribly bad representation of what I said.

    What I said is basically it should not be acceptable for sites to shrug their shoulders and tolerate hateful, nasty, libelous, or similar speech - and then play defense to stop anyone else from being able to deal with it.

    "If you propose that censors monitor all communications going through their systems"

    I don't. What I do suggest is that Section 230 should have an additional piece of code, which says "services are only protected if they log user activity (at minimum IP address and similar freely given information) and provide that information when requested by legal notification, summons, or similar". Basically, you get all your freedom, you get all your safe harbour for the service provider, but you also end up with a balancing level of responsibility.

    Anonymous speech is fine and wonderful. Sadly, it is abused by people who seek not freedom of expression, but rather who seek freedom from responsibility. Having service providers be a shield for this stuff is an unintended consequence of 230.

  • Sep 30th, 2015 @ 10:53am

    (untitled comment)

    The true unintended consequence of section 230 is that it has left offended parties with no true legal remedy for speech against them. Section 230 has created an effective double blind, making the service providers (wide scope term there) not responsible for what is on their own sites, yet at the same time there is no equal requirement for them to know or be able to track those who do post on their sites.

    Further, sites that do have tracking information (such as IP address, confirmed email, or whatever) are loath to give that information up in court, and fight to the very end to protect the privacy of these people.

    Simply put, section 230's intent may be noble in some fashion, but it's results are often very poor, creating a legal Bermuda Triangle. Essentially, you can say anything on the internet and not be responsible for it. Yet in real life, if you said those things, you would be taken to task for them.

    The true use of section 230 should have been to protect hosting companies, transit companies, and other similar "naked" connectivity providers from being held liable. Instead, it's a wide scope protection for anyone with a website to say "hey, user submitted, not our problem" and walk away without any legal obligation to deal with the problems.

    I am not sure that it's better in the long run. Short sighted would be to look at all the money made under section 230 and letting it excuse the wide ranging abuses.

  • Sep 29th, 2015 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Excelllent piece

    "You are utterly wrong in almost everything you said so far. And again your little tyrant inside is showing its face."

    Nice personal attack. You just ended a great discussion by being a dick.

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