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  • May 15, 2015 @ 01:25pm

    I object. There are fancy memes.

  • Sep 30, 2013 @ 06:30am

    Eben Moglen kind of talked about this last year, too, altho', obviously, there were no documents disclosing the details.


    A senior government official in this government said to me after the United States changed its rules about how long they keep information on everybody about whom nothing is suspected - you all do know about that right? Rainy Wednesday on the 21st of March, long after the close of business, Department of Justice and the DNI, that's the Director of National Intelligence, put out a joint press release announcing minor changes in the Ashcroft rules, including a minor change that says that all personally identifiable information in government databases at the National Center for Counter-Terrorism that are based around people of whom nothing is suspected, will no longer be retained as under the Ashcroft rules for a maximum of 180 days, the maximum has now been changed to 5 years. Which is infinity.

    I told my students in my classroom, the only reason they said 5 years was they couldn't get the sideways eight into the font for the press release, so they used an approximation. So I was talking to a senior government official of this government about that outcome and he said well you know we've come to realize that we need a robust social graph of the United States. That's how we're going to connect new information to old information. I said let's just talk about the constitutional implications of this for a moment. You're talking about taking us from the society we have always known, which we quaintly refer to as a free society, to a society in which the United States government keeps a list of everybody every American knows. So if you're going to take us from what we used to call a free society to a society in which the US government keeps a list of everybody every American knows, what should be the constitutional procedure for doing this? Should we have, for example, a law? He just laughed. Because of course they didn't need a law. They did it with a press release on a rainy Wednesday night after everybody went home, and you live there now.


    The network, as it stands now, is an extraordinary platform for enhanced social control. Very rapidly, and with no apparent remorse, the two largest governments on earth, that of the United States of America and the People's Republic of China have adopted essentially identical points of view. A robust social graph connecting government to everybody and the exhaustive data mining of society is both governments fundamental policy with respect to their different forms of what they both refer to, or think of, as stability maintenance. It is true of course that they have different theories of how to maintain stability for whom and why, but the technology of stability maintenance is becoming essentially identical.

    And here's a PDF of the press release.,-retention,-use,-and-dissemination-of-information-in-datasets-containing-non-terrorism-information?tmpl=component&format=pdf

  • Aug 30, 2013 @ 08:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: McDonalds coffee... division by four... and stupid deputies

    It depends on whether you're responding to a technical specification that an object be cooled to "1/4 -4C" or if, say, you hand someone a drink with ice cubes in it and they go "whoa how cold is that drink, it feels like it's -4 degrees, it should be like 1/4 as cold as that!"

    Don't be pedantic. Or, rather, don't be needlessly pedantic.

  • Mar 16, 2013 @ 01:55am

    Of course, I'm not sure how well that would have worked in this case, since the caller suggested it was a local crime issue.

    Mike, I think the point Krebs is trying to make is that, right now, if someone files a false report with the police, it's the local police that investigates. For "swatting" it should be passed up the line to federal authorities - especially since if it's done through VOIP or international phone systems it's going to be outside the reach of a local police force. (Also: since swatting is eventually going to get somebody killed, we might as well start tracking known swatters on a national level.)

  • Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:11pm

    For my money, the seventh and final question is the real sucker-punch. Any way Holder answers that question, he's screwed. Discretion? "So what you're saying is Swartz' family was correct and this was an overzealous prosecution." No discretion? "Oh, really? I just happen to have a list of incidents here where your office declined to prosecute...."

  • Jan 14, 2013 @ 08:22pm

    You may not want to blame the prosecutor, but I think history will. I think Aaron was probably brilliant enough that, in the future, people will look back on this moment as the USA analog to the UK's malicious prosecution of Alan Turing.

  • Nov 14, 2012 @ 11:59pm

    Re: Re: More of the neo-con libertarian privatizing CRAP

    He's talking about the "investment" banking sleight-of-hand that Wall Street thrives on until it turns toxic and melts the global economy. If "investors" had to pay a 1% transaction tax, they might stop juggling entire national economies on a .5% bet.

  • Nov 14, 2012 @ 11:55pm

    Re: Re: More of the neo-con libertarian privatizing CRAP

    OBJECTION: out_of_the_blue didn't call Hundt and Levin neo-con libertarians, he called their *proposals* neo-con libertarian crap. Which ... at least partially ... they are.

    Financial incentives for libraries? CEOs - no public interest groups or their representatives - should be given, by Congress, mandatory binding "recommendation" power over the Executive Branch? Those all sound like the ideas I'd expect out of condescending aristocrats trying to soft-sell central-planning.

    The whole "a trillion dollars of private investment built Internet 1.0 in the 1990s" thing is also kind of nonsense. What about Eben Moglen's "Innovation Under Austerity" speech from earlier this year?

    "The very point about what's happening to information technology in the world right now, has to do with scaling up our late 20th century work. We created the idea that we could share operating systems and all the rest of the commoditizable stack on top of them. We did this using the curiosity of young people. That was the fuel, not venture capital. We had been at it for 15 years, and our stuff was already running everywhere, before venture capital or even industrial capital raised by IT giants came towards us. It came towards us not because innovation needed to happen, but because innovation had already happened, and they needed to monetize it."

    At best these are noble ideals, but the details are all wrong.

  • Oct 29, 2012 @ 08:34pm

    "It's no secret that the "War on Terror" has resulted in little more than steady paychecks for those in the loop and plenty of rights erosion everywhere else."

    To be fair, it's also resulted in tens of thousands of dead foreigners. Granted, not from what the NYPD or FBI's done, but it's probably important to remember that as bad as the War on Terror is within the US, it's immeasurably worse everywhere else.

  • Oct 10, 2012 @ 08:35pm

    Can someone from TechDirt interview someone from Ouya?

    They're touting the "open-source" console, so I have to wonder if they've given any real thought to family sharing and other similar matters.

    I guess I could just email them myself and share the results, but where's the fun in that?

  • Oct 10, 2012 @ 08:33pm

    Re: The PC will always be the superior platform.

    Except Steam isn't actually any better than XBox Live for this sort of thing, is it? You can't share DLC among accounts, you can't log into multiple computers with the same account (I don't mean you can't play the same game in two different places, I mean if I'm downloading a 4GB game onto my laptop, I get signed out on the laptop as soon as I sign into Steam on the desktop).

  • Oct 05, 2012 @ 08:10am


    Whar long-form /played, Lachowicz? WHAR?!

  • Oct 02, 2012 @ 01:44am

    DINOSAUR MEDIA: What's that, facts? LA LA LA I can't hear you, I'm going to go luxuriate in my tar pit now

  • Sep 24, 2012 @ 08:43pm

    It's worth noting that the first two "sympathetic tweets" aren't from his twitter followers - they're from TWC people offering help ... which he refuses.

    I wish I'd gotten that kind of response from Microsoft when my XBox Live account got hacked, the hacker stole $25 worth of points, and charged >$100 to my credit card, then Microsoft lost my gamerscore and sent credits for the points to the wrong account. Instead I spent *three months* calling and eventually asking for their legal contact info so I could go to small claims court before I finally got to use my points.

  • Sep 24, 2012 @ 08:34pm


    Have you ever used twitter to contact a company you were having a hard time with on the phone? My wife and I have gotten good responses out of a number of companies there, or on Facebook.

    In fact ... the only company that never responded to a serious inquiry was Microsoft.

    If you're having a problem with a company and the phone support team isn't helping, try their social media contact. You don't have to be famous, you just have to be polite and cooperative.

  • Sep 24, 2012 @ 08:32pm

    Re: Whathehuh?

    They're saying they don't have one phone number for normal people and one phone number for celebrities. If you have a problem with *any* company's customer service, it's probably not a good idea to just get mad or give up - there are always options.

    TWC, like many other companies, has a social media team that will respond to questions on Twitter or Facebook.

    I've gotten help with problems that phone-monkeys couldn't or wouldn't fix by going to Twitter - in some cases (like Planters, yay peanuts) they got back to me in less time than it took for me to find their twitter handle. TWC's twitter team responded to Stewart's tweet two minutes later, but he refused help.

    Seriously, how hard is it to understand that the PR team wouldn't harass the guy just because he's famous? It might make Trekkers feel better to know their stars are treated like kings, but if the man says "no," you leave him the hell alone.

  • Sep 24, 2012 @ 08:24pm


    Shatner had connectivity issues? He was tweeting about a radio station being taken away.

    Be honest: when's the last time you turned on your subscription television service to use the digital music channels to "watch" talk radio? The station in question streams content over the web, and if Shatner's concerned about them losing carriage fees from TWC, he could also volunteer to do some ads for them or something.

  • Sep 24, 2012 @ 08:22pm

    Re: Re:

    (well, he responded to say "I don't care anymore," but that doesn't really count)

  • Sep 24, 2012 @ 08:21pm


    It's also worth noting that Stewart was having trouble with the local office and gave up without trying to escalate the issue. 2 minutes after he tweeted about "losing the will to live," TWC's twitter team tried to help him and he never responded.

  • Sep 24, 2012 @ 08:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Based on the MTU errors I was getting while trying to troubleshoot, and the death of UDP packets outside TWC's network, it was a combination of:

    Microsoft tweaking the packet size for XBox Live

    TWC's backbone provider, XO Communications, losing UDP packets over 700 bytes

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