DocGerbil100’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Sep 21st, 2017 @ 8:05pm


    Well, isn't that interesting!

    I'm in the UK. The last time I was unemployed for any length of time, a fair while ago now, I was sent to a place called Reed Employment in Partnership, a company contracted by the government to help the unemployed get back into work.

    Due to past security issues, customers weren't allowed to attach their own storage devices to Reed's computers. Instead, we were all required to use the draft folders in webmail accounts for storing our CVs (or résumés, in American), etc, in similar fashion to the counter-surveillance method described in the article.

    It's a certainty that at least some extremists were making use of Reed's services. Presumably, everyone using the same branch who subsequently accessed their email from another location would also be flagged up as a potential terrorist - particularly the ones who mainly spoke Arabic and weren't fluent in written English.

    Did Reed unintentionally push hundreds of thousands of customers onto anti-terrorism watch-lists? I wonder how many other government service providers did the same thing...?

  • Sep 6th, 2017 @ 3:49pm

    (untitled comment)

    That's immensely pleasing news!
    Very well done to Prince Lobel Tye LLP - and my congratulations to everyone at Techdirt.

  • Aug 3rd, 2017 @ 8:56pm

    (untitled comment)

    Now, that's a what-in-the-actual-fuck moment, right there. :P

    I'm glad I don't use Twitter. I was considering signing up, since a few people I know use only this, rather than FB, but after reading this article, I think perhaps I'm better off staying away.

    What a bunch of unbelievable spanners. :/

  • Aug 3rd, 2017 @ 8:50pm

    Re: Europe and privacy

    "Note that Europe has a ridiculous notion of privacy thereby you can be sued or even jailed for violating the privacy of others merely for republishing facts about someone's criminal past.

    In a lot of European nations, mentioning that John Doe was convicted of rape 20 years ago is a criminal offense."

    Hello, AC. :)

    Are you sure about this? I know the EU has a right to be forgotten, but that's a civil law, whereby you can sue for the right to be delisted from search engines, not a criminal law.

    I looked up privacy law on Wikipedia, but it seems a little weak on the topic. Perhaps if you could provide a citation or two...? :)

  • Jul 30th, 2017 @ 4:45pm

    (untitled comment)

    Heh. I'm quite relieved to find that I'm not the only one who gets Ktetch's name wrong. :D

  • Jul 28th, 2017 @ 7:58am

    (untitled comment)

    "Welcome to arbys. We'll be out with your crap in a second. Meanwhile, go sit over there with all the other drones waiting to die Eat arbys"

    Heh. I'm in the UK and I've never seen an Arby's - apparently they used to exist here, but closed years ago. If they ever come back, I'm going to go buy something from them, just because of this. :)

  • Jul 23rd, 2017 @ 2:42pm

    (untitled comment)

    Good lord! I really must remember to forget to sign in more often. :D

  • May 9th, 2017 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Uhhh...?

    I posted too soon - ninja'ed by over twenty more-articulate comments. :P

  • May 9th, 2017 @ 6:03pm


    That's Donald Trump's signature? Well, holy shit! It looks like the tracks left by a freshly-murdered tricycle tire. That seems very appropriate for him, somehow.

    ... and isn't it interesting that - thus far - all the reactions here are one-liners, or near equivalents?

    I'm not sure what to make of this. I'm not sure anyone does. Possibly not even Donald Trump. Perhaps things will make a bit more sense tomorrow. :P

  • Mar 13th, 2017 @ 6:04pm

    (untitled comment)

    Hello, Mr Masnick. :)

    I can see that this one may be difficult to appreciate, particularly for non-Britons and even for British readers younger than a certain age.

    I can't be arsed to read the full judgment - it's about Katie Hopkins and someone I've never heard of, so fuck it - but I shall say how this comes across to me, from this article.

    "[...] it is, to my mind, an inescapable conclusion that the ordinary reasonable reader of the First Tweet would understand it to mean that Ms Monroe “condoned and approved of scrawling on war memorials, vandalising monuments commemorating those who fought for her freedom.” That is a meaning that emerges clearly enough, making full allowance for everything that seems to me relevant by way of context [...]"

    To my mind, this is the single most important sentence in the article. The offending tweet does give me that impression and it's what basically hangs Katie Hopkins in the eyes of the judge. Since many of Ms Hopkins followers could see the allegation (however inexplicitly given), but not the replies, it was extremely bad for Ms Monroe's reputation.

    To understand just why it's such a bad thing, I shall have to digress somewhat...

    Forgive me for saying so, but on the whole, Americans do not seem to understand war. You - like we Brits - are very good at exporting it to other countries, but you don't seem to really have a grasp of what real war - in your own country, with your own houses and neighbours and families being randomly gassed, incinerated or blasted into flying chunky pieces - is actually like.

    I'm a Londoner. I wasn't around during World War II, but I grew up in it's shadow. My childhood home was part of a terrace - a row of attached houses - and my back garden should have overlooked a mirror image of similar houses. Instead, it enjoyed a wall of corrugated iron, behind which was a street-length pile of utterly demolished rubble known as a bombsite. Behind that was another row of buildings, still standing, but wrecked beyond any hope of repair or habitation. The destroyed streets were eventually bulldozed and rebuilt into a rather nasty modern housing estate, some time in the 1980s.

    It's my understanding that, during the war, the German Luftwaffe bombed over forty thousand of my people out of existence and wounded around a hundred and forty thousand more. Impossible numbers of people were reduced to homeless refugees. To this day, there are odd corners and bits of London, here and there, that have still not been rebuilt, three-quarters of a century later.

    I don't know - and don't want to know - how many families were wiped out fifty feet from my childhood home. Unless they were originally war refugees from somewhere else, I doubt too many Americans have ever had to think such a thought.

    Leaving aside the relatively-new and very special horrors that today's political corruption and vile oil wars have brought to the world, when we send soldiers out to kill and die in our name, we do it very seriously, to keep that kind of shit from ever coming to our door again.

    And when we build a memorial to the ones that died, we take it very, very seriously indeed.

    Vandalising a war memorial is a Very, Very Bad Thing in the eyes of some of us. Anyone genuinely advocating such behaviour could very easily find themselves with no career, no home and quite possibly no head attached to their shoulders.

    I've no idea how Laurie Penny - the columnist who apparently did actually say Very Stupid Things - still has a job anywhere. If she ends up unemployed and homeless, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

    There are more than a few pubs where - if she goes there and says the same things - she just will not make it out alive.

    Ms Hopkins' tweet was undoubtedly harmful to Ms Monroe. In all likelihood, Ms Monroe felt she had no real option but to go to court. Once there, the damage to her reputation would have become far more severe if she'd lost.

    Britain's libel laws are appalling, no question there at all. One day, we might actually get around to fixing them. But under that bad law, the court has rendered the only verdict that could possibly be considered just.

    The business about hurt feelings is a little weirder, even for me, but I suspect the judge just wanted some excuse - any excuse - to crank up the damages, so Ms Monroe can be clearly be seen to have won and Ms Hopkins can be clearly seen to have lost badly - and to try and make sure she thinks twice before tweeting anything quite so pointlessly stupid and damaging again.

  • Mar 12th, 2017 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re:

    Hello, Leigh Beadon. :)

    I've ordered a Restaurants t-shirt and am looking forward to the return of Nerd Harder, now I've got a proper excuse to buy the thing. It would be nice to get it in a slightly more sci-fi-loon-friendly font than last time, but if not, no big deal. I'm buying it either way, seeing as it's now very much in a good cause.

    I wish TechDirt the best of fortunes in its battle against the litigation-abusing assholes who plan to do it harm.

  • Mar 11th, 2017 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re: And in response to the obvious question...

    Oh my sweet, gargling Jesus, I'll buy a bloody t-shirt, just give us the edit button. Please, Techdirt, please! :D

  • Oct 13th, 2016 @ 3:44pm

    (untitled comment)

    “Simultaneous release, in practice, has reduced both theatrical and home revenues when it has been tried [...]”

    Interesting comment. I'm in the UK and I've not seen much in the way of simultaneous releases here. I'm only aware of two: Doctor Who: Day of the Doctor and Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, both produced by the BBC.

    By all accounts, both shows were a big worldwide success for the BBC, with good cinema ticket sales and excellent broadcast ratings. I watched and enjoyed both at my local cinema and the reviews were generally quite favourable. I don't have any idea about subsequent DVD/BR sales, but I'd be quite surprised if either one flopped.

    I can't speak to how well simultaneous releases have gone for other producers, but based on the limited evidence of my own experience, I can only guess that Mr Fithian has been sucking his own magic mushroom just a little bit too hard to be believable here. :P

  • Oct 7th, 2016 @ 5:00pm

    (untitled comment)

    I won't miss them.

  • Aug 17th, 2016 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Re:

    Looked for Techdirt rule 34. Found nothing. The internet has failed.

  • Aug 5th, 2016 @ 5:00pm

    (untitled comment)

    Goddamit, what a fucking annoying mess of issues. :P

    In FB vs Power, I felt (and still feel) that FB behaved more or less correctly - and that the CFAA was used in more or less the way such laws should be used: to protect both the service and its users from harm.

    Now we have that exact judgment seemingly being used to try and protect a game from cheaters. My feelings are annoyingly ambivalent here.

    On the one hand: the objectionable service is apparently a cheat-bot and I really, really want to just say "fuck 'em, they deserve what they get". I have no shred of sympathy for those individuals and organisations who fuck up games for everyone else.

    On the other hand, it's the bloody CFAA being invoked, a ridiculously aggressive law that is profoundly not the right tool for the job. It's just too heavy-handed, by far.

    The only thing I'm certain of is that America needs better laws.

  • Aug 1st, 2016 @ 1:33pm

    Re: It IS in the public domain

    This needs to be examined. It looks like Ms Highsmith is saying one thing and the LoC is saying another.

    If Ms Highsmith did commit her works to the public domain, then she may not have standing to sue over copyright, as such.

    If Ms Highsmith did not, in fact, commit her works to PD, then I suspect the LoC needs to be added as a joint defendant, since they appear to be claiming she did.

    Getty is not off the hook, either way: their demands for money for images they don't own is a clear, fraudulent assertion of ownership, regardless of any tricky word-games they might play to give themselves plausible deniability.

    As far as Ms Highsmith is concerned, she's - at bare minimum - a victim of attempted fraud and undoubtedly entitled to sue on that basis.

    As far as the FBI is concerned, Getty is engaged in systematic, wholesale criminal fraud, certainly on a nationwide basis and possibly worldwide. Whether they've an appetite to prosecute or not, there are Getty executives who need to go to jail for this.

    I won't miss them.

  • Jul 25th, 2016 @ 10:10pm

    (untitled comment)

    One hundred idiots make idiotic plans and carry them out. All but one justly fail. The hundredth idiot, whose plan succeeded through pure luck, is immediately convinced he is a genius.
    -- Iain M. Banks, Matter.

    If there's ever a 'citation needed' for the above quote, this story is it.

  • Jul 25th, 2016 @ 10:01pm

    (untitled comment)

    I know nothing of Wikileaks, beyond what's made onto the pages of Techdirt, et al.

    So, simple question: is Wikileaks still Wikileaks - and if it isn't, how do we tell?

  • Jul 14th, 2016 @ 11:55pm

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

    Ha ha ha! :D

    ... And with that, the most obvious troll on the thread becomes very obvious indeed.

    Can I give you some free advice? If you're going to troll a site like Techdirt, you might want to be a bit more savvy than that.

    I've never intentionally trolled anyone else myself, but I do like to know how it works, so I can generally avoid getting sucked into anyone else's dramas. You might find some observations helpful...

    • Create and Embrace the Right Identity.
    The best kind of traitors are the ones who stab you in the back, when you least expect it - not the ones nobody ever turns their backs upon. Put some effort into it. Create and articulate a name and personality that suggests a genuinely interested commenter, not just some random clown who can't even be bothered to register.

    I mean, who's 'Lesath' supposed to be? You're either named after the star in the stinger of the Scorpio constellation, or you're named after the obscure Death-Eater in the Harry Potter books. Neither one suggests anything other than a troll.

    Even if I didn't know the name up front, I have Google, same as everyone else. You might as well have called yourself Trolly McTrollface, for all the good it's done you.

    • Know Your Website and Your Targets.
    On a younger site full of twelve-year-olds, your tactics might work quite well, at least for a while. On an ancient site like Techdirt, especially with an old hand like me, it all falls apart straight away.

    You'll rarely get much drama out of trolling someone who knows what you are the minute you click 'submit'. The only reason you got any reply at all is because I've been in a good mood for the last two days and I'm feeling both wordsome and magnanimous. Normally, I'd have ignored you completely.

    • Know Your Topic.
    Don't just skim the article, read it properly and - more importantly -
    look into the links given and the background from elsewhere, so you can engage with people in a convincing way.

    Mr Masnick tells the honest truth only about half the time in his articles. The rest of the time, as here, he'll selectively omit or misrepresent facts to shape the story into the narrative he wants to sell.

    (I don't condemn him for that, by the way - this is how professional American journalism seems to be done, as tragic as it is.)

    Leaving aside the fact that this is a six-year-old, largely done and dusted case, there's huge potential for drama in that dishonesty alone. It's wasted potential, because you didn't know what you were writing about, beyond Mr Masnick's own words.

    • Use the Right Tactics.
    It's not 2006 anymore: for the most part, the old strategies just won't cut it, unless you're dealing with preteens or one of the more ridiculous kinds of zealot.

    Cheap tricks like cognitive dissonance don't hold up anymore: too many people know exactly what they're seeing, when they see it - and will write you off as a troll, right then and there, no more drama.

    As for you panicking and flinging insults around, like the Messiah in Preacher flinging his own shit through the bars of his cage... no. Just no.

    The best approach seems to be to try to present yourself as a protagonist in an ensemble, one who simply disagrees with another poster, rather than an endless antagonist.

    Look at Whatever, the pensionable troll below. He almost has the right idea about identity, but he does nothing except disagree. Does anyone take that seriously? Of course not. No-one ever cares what he has to say. He's tedious and incapable of invoking any real interest in his words.

    There's no drama in being universally ignored.
    Perhaps you can do better.

    That about covers everything, I think. I'll let you have the last word, because you're a troll and, well, trolls gonna troll, as one might say. Do think about what I've said, though, Lesath.

    Happy trails, sonny. :)

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