DB’s Techdirt Profile


About DB

DB’s Comments comment rss

  • Mar 15th, 2018 @ 9:58pm

    Re: "What's this $130K charge on your account?" "Oh that, nothing."

    I think that they have a trial balloon out. They are seeing if people believe Trump didn't have the affair, but Cohen paid blackmail money without asking Trump in the belief that the affair happened.

    Or perhaps that Cohen was trying to suppress a false story. Except that won't work because it would be an unreported campaign contribution.

  • Mar 15th, 2018 @ 9:52pm

    Re: The Family Values Candidate

    I hadn't thought of that, but now that you bring it up 'family values' might become a punchline.

  • Mar 15th, 2018 @ 3:56pm

    (untitled comment)

    If I'm charged with a crime, or even a suspect, my name will be part of the public record.

    If it's a high profile case I may be perp-walked in front of the press, even if there is substantial doubt that I committed the crime.

    Pictures of the arrest and mug shots are retained and made available for anyone to publish, even if I'm later cleared of all charges.

    But somehow it's too pejorative for police to have the same treatment.

  • Mar 15th, 2018 @ 10:56am

    (untitled comment)

    The 1033 program has rules to avoid the most embarrassing abuses. Someone that spends a little time looking for loopholes certainly could find them, but this department didn't even find it necessary to put in that effort.

    The rule say that the equipment must be put into use within 12 months, and must be used for at least 12 months for small equipment, 18 months for regular vehicles and small boats, with longer use required for large vehicles, aircraft, etc.

    The rules also block the most obvious loopholes. That the equipment may not be loaned or used privately during that period, or broken down for parts.

  • Mar 13th, 2018 @ 3:17pm

    "Slander of Title" seems to be only mis-used

    Slander of title is falsely claiming that you own a property, or specific rights associated with it. The claim also typically requires that it decreases the value of the property.

    Saying something unrelated to the title/ownership doesn't fall under this, even if it decreases the value of the property.

  • Mar 11th, 2018 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: I wonder..

    That's not how car key transponders work.

    The system on older BMWs (from two decades ago) is a good example of how the security work. The transponder requires a modest encryption key to communicate. But there is a significant additional layer of security -- the locking system generates and writes a random number into the key. The next time that key is used, the car reads back the number and verifies that it matches. If it does, a new random number is written and the car is allowed to start.

    This defeats various attacks, for instance a valet cloning a key and using it later.

  • Mar 11th, 2018 @ 1:06pm

    Gain power by asking for the impossible

    The people asking for a secure third-party encryption key have long since learned that it's not technically possible.

    Why do they continue to ask for it?

    I suspect that they are asking for it strategically. It is not obvious to the 'everyday man' that a FBI-only decryption key is impossible. When it's not provided to them, they can complain about not getting cooperation and ask for additional powers.

    What would make the FBI the most power organization in the world? Something that would given them the power of the old KGB, world-wide. It would be warrantless real-time access to everything at Apple, Facebook, Google etc. all the way down to AOL. You could blackmail half of the people on the planet, not just on the things they do once they become of interest but on their entire online past.

  • Mar 6th, 2018 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: stupidity

    In the U.S. the most deadly aspect of the job is operating a motor vehicle. About half of those deaths are single vehicle accidents. It's appears that a significant cause of death is ignoring the traffic laws that they enforce against others. But you don't see any call to require police to obey traffic laws except during a pursuit, or punishments for not issuing/"fixing" tickets as a professional courtesy.

    Yes, domestic disputes are the second most deadly, roughly the same as the risk of a heart attack while on duty.

  • Mar 5th, 2018 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Wait, I thought US jusrisdiction was world-wide.

    That's the way the court system works.

    The courts don't 'know' something until it appears in a filing. They can't take it as fact until a reply has been filed that doesn't challenge it.

  • Mar 3rd, 2018 @ 7:21pm

    Re: Wait, I thought US jusrisdiction was world-wide.

    The BBC responded because they do have a business presence in California and were clearly subject to the jurisdiction of the courts. This show was not part of the business presence, but they still needed to respond.

  • Feb 27th, 2018 @ 11:35am

    (untitled comment)

    A fitting result would be for any publication or organization to immediately reject a paper where he is listed as an author. Make it clear to everyone that reading and commenting on the contents would unacceptably expose the organization and reviewers to legal expense.

    Really, I don't see how they could otherwise.

    Perhaps even extend the approach to requiring other Stanford-affiliated authors to sign a legally-binding pledge not to sue. Academic politics tends to be bi-modal: either apathy or extreme reactions. An embarrassment like a targeted pledge would definitely have a result.

  • Feb 26th, 2018 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re: Already being appealed?

    Do you have a cite on the appeal?

    Lawyers telling the press that they would appeal takes little effort.

    Writing an appeal takes far more effort. It's much more than writing "we want a do-over" and paying a filing fee. The weaker the case, the harder to find precedent that supports a claim of error.

  • Feb 26th, 2018 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re:

    That was a carefully chosen example.

    In real life the deployed modem wouldn't reach 56K, but the hardware with the right settings in the ideal conditions could reach that speed. The advertising claim was misleading, and well down a slippery slop, but was holding onto the truth by a fingernail.

    In this case Charter was selling a service with hardware that could never reach the advertised speed, even under ideal circumstances.

  • Feb 26th, 2018 @ 9:15am

    Re: Leaning on qualified immunity?

    Claiming 'Qualified Immunity' is an attempt to avoid review of either the CBP rules or the officers actions. It's a claim that the officers weren't necessarily allowed to do what they did, but they can't be prosecuted individually as they were acting in their official capacity.

    Normally it would be asserted by officials when prosecuted as individuals. Here it's the government asserting the right of agents to do anything they like without being prosecuted, and extending that to cover the CBP.

    It's somewhat of a circular argument, but the CBP is arguing that they have the precedents to hold the loop together. Or at least cost the other side more than they can afford to argue against.

  • Feb 26th, 2018 @ 8:47am

    (untitled comment)

    I look forward to the day when it's generally accepted that there must be some truth in advertising.

    Saying 'up to 50Mbps' is a specific claim. It uses a actual number. The hardware infrastructure involved, every element along the path, should be able to deliver that performance. Perhaps only in ideal circumstances, but they must be achievable ideal circumstances.

    Selling a 300 baud modem as a "up to 56Kbps" modem would have been recognized as consumer fraud. cable companies shouldn't be able to get away with the same fraud just because the technology is much more difficult to understand and evaluate.

    It's a more challenging case when the performance isn't reached due to over-subscription, but even there it's a bright line if the performance is never reached.

  • Feb 19th, 2018 @ 7:14am


    Growing up I frequently heard "it takes two to fight" as the excuse to punish all involved in a fight.

    That is, of course, wrong.

    It takes two to brawl. It takes only one for a beat down.

    It's usually one person that starts the fight. The target has the choice to fight back then or be assaulted over the long term until they do fight back.

    It's easy to forget that children in school or on the bus are forced to be there. They don't have luxury of avoiding the situation or walking away. The instigators know not to start the assault when an adult is watching. Adults rarely intervene in a just way, and are usually only there to punish the disruption.

  • Jan 26th, 2018 @ 11:01am

    Wait a second..

    How is Visegrips the "lesser of two vices"?

    They are awesome and powerful.

    I can see how Apple Computer feels they have strong claim on the word 'Apple' as applied to computer-related items, even though it's a common word and Apple Music was well known before they started. The word 'Apple' has nothing to do with computers.

    But when you name your company 'Vice' and you are engaged in vice... that's pretty much like naming your restaurant 'Diner' and expecting to have a valid trademark claim.

  • Jan 11th, 2018 @ 9:52pm

    (untitled comment)

    There is currently quite a bit of hang-wringing over the amount of 'screen time' that kids get.

    That 3 hour number is suspiciously identical to the point where TV time was found to turn from a positive to a negative. That was based on a broad study, rather than someone's guesses.

    But a closer examination showed that the study was very misleading. Kids that watched more than 3 hours of TV a day were vastly more likely to have a single parent, or both parents working much more than 8 hours a day. Watching TV in place of other activities was a reflection of their economic situation, not a cause of lower academic or social performance.

    We've created an astonishing world where a person with internet access and a tablet has vastly more resources to learn from than the largest library of a generation ago. Yet it's considered 'better' or more noble to be reading paper than looking at a screen. Why?

  • Dec 21st, 2017 @ 11:26am

    "when they can least afford it"

    Is right now a tough economic time for pay TV companies?

    Or is the phrase "when they can least afford it" used because the price of upper-end customized Gulfstreams has increased?

  • Dec 7th, 2017 @ 8:57am

    Extra-judicial punishment?

    I can't come up with any other reason to expose the identity of the defendant except directly or indirectly enabling additional punishment.

More comments from DB >>