flamsmark’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jan 15th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Unclear Legal Battle

    I don't like laptop searches at the border. I use encrypted disks, so I'm not particularly worried about access to my personal information.

    Those who have privileged and confidential info on their laptops -- like the lawyers this suit seeks to represent -- should be using strong encryption as a matter of course. This is especially true when they do things which might result in someone searching their laptop: like crossing a border which has an explicit policy of doing so.

    Given the precedents, and the legal basis of that jurisprudence, it seems quite an odd case to pursue. It's not clear to me what legal argument might have even a moderate chance of success in this case. Perhaps the ACLU has an ace up their sleeve? Perhaps they know that they'll lose, but want to draw attention to the issue as a matter of public policy?

    This case looks interesting, not because it seems like an effective challenge against a draconian policy, but because I want to know just what the ACLU is planning.
  • Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: "Insanity"

    When I roll a pair of dice, I expect significant variation in the outcome. I'd be insane to think that snake-eyes would come up every time.
  • Nov 12th, 2009 @ 11:23pm

    Re: (as Flamsmark)

    Furthering the previous reply:
    One doesn't have to be sure. If you're defending yourself, you don't have to prove innocence, merely establish reasonable doubt. When you combine an electronic event that you're the only person likely to trigger, with other alibi material; you raise significant doubt that you had opportunity to commit the crime.
  • Dec 14th, 2007 @ 12:13am

    Meaningless Reference

    I feel that this XKCD strip is poignantly relevant here.
  • Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:56am

    Making Sense (as Flamsmark)

    The allegation is a lot more logical than the posts here suggest.

    Almost every piece of software on a computer can be replaced. You can swap Internet Explorer for Firefox, and Windows Media Player for iTunes. Google's gripe is that you *can't* swap Windows Live Desktop Search for Google Desktop.

    Both pieces of software work in the background, indexing all your files, and possibly also listening for system calls telling them that there have been file updates. Running both at the same time means using twice the idle processor and hard drive resources (assuming that both applications are equally efficient). Microsoft wouldn't let users turn off Live Search indexing and opt only to use Google's indexing. That's like saying that whatever webpages you open in Firefox must also be opened in Internet Explorer.

    Furthermore, Microsoft won't allow the replacement of the search boxes littered about the operating system. The search boxes that automatically appear in Windows Explorer (for instance) *only* point to Microsoft's search package: they can't be replaced with Google's package.

    Google wans 'search' software on Vista to be just as interchangable as web browsers, media players, Java platforms, and word processors. So far, Microsoft has only made nominal changes, and it's understandable that Google's not happy with this.
  • May 27th, 2007 @ 8:29am

    Circular Theme (as Flamsmark)

    This story is presumably pursuing today's theme of 'ridiculous circular logic' as presented in the EU DRM case earlier.
  • May 22nd, 2007 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: (as Flamsmark)

    It's "It's "and, by the way," by the way," by the way: you use the the punctuation inside the inverted commas as a separator in the ongoing syntax, so the repeated comma is unnecessary.
  • May 22nd, 2007 @ 4:49pm

    Re: It's only an american problem (as Flamsmark)

    Except for the UK, France, and the rest of the western EU, where it's a really big problem; and fairly common.
  • May 1st, 2007 @ 2:06am

    SoundExchange (as Flamsmark)

    Can someone please explain the way SoundExchange works? How do they actually 'collect' the money from the webcasters? Where do their 'rights' to do so come from?

    No, I don't want a sarcastic, or snarky reply about politics or the RIAA. An actual explanation would be nice.
  • Feb 14th, 2007 @ 11:46am


    Re: Seanchk

    *Or* instead of having the chif implanted into your body, you could simply have a silicone wristband with the exact same chip in it.

    Fewer health risks; no chance of having your arm chopped off; no problem if something goes wrong with the chip; and a perfect solution to any privacy concerns (you can take off a wristband, you can't take off your arm so easily).
  • Feb 8th, 2007 @ 6:00am

    Patent Wit

    Jokes about patenting obvious things, or things directly related to the patent system just get funnier and funnier after every patent story.
  • Dec 8th, 2006 @ 10:36am


    Actually, copyrights protect only non-ephemeral things, and does not include ideas. For copyright to cover a creation it must be recorded in a tangible form. So, you can't just hum a tune and have it copyrighted. You'd have to write down the score to it.

    Thus, the aim or copyright is to protect creations that people have worked to create.

    I'm not commenting on the need, justification, extension or otherwise of copyrights, I'm just correcting that misconception.
  • Aug 30th, 2006 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Depends on who's paying....

    yes, in a manner of speaking. their local taxes pay for the service. in essence, the residents have already 'bought' it. imposing this additional [and i think i'm on pretty strong ground in saying] anti-constitutional term on them to use it, therefore *is* an attack on a right.

    you may as well say that our rights and civil liberties are erroded by having to have a permit to protest.

    many do. in the uk, we call them 'liberals'.
  • Aug 19th, 2006 @ 1:48pm

    Re: wow

    just to clarify, that would be zero vulnerabilities; unless you deliberately go out and hack your driver to *make* it succeptible to this vulnerability.
  • Jul 28th, 2006 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Interference (as Flamsmark)

    you are more than correct. aircraft systems are well-hardened against electrical interference, as mandated by applicable law. in many countries, airplanes are required to function [to a certain level] even after highly agressive EMPs.

    the assumptions about takeoff and landing are more wishy-washy, however. would they also not want you to be reading, writing or somehow [gasp!] entertaining yourself without the use of electronic gadgetry?
  • Jul 28th, 2006 @ 6:07pm

    Re: They are fine, but untested. (as Flamsmark)

    the fcc and similar bodies outside the us require certain levels of 'interference hardness' to be exhibited by machinery, including aircraft; and for limits to be placed on the transmissions that can be emitted by devices that use electromagnetic radiation as a communications medium. the function of these pairs of limits, in tandem, is to ensure that no damaging interference can occur between devices. aircraft normally have to meet higher specifications than many other sorts of machinery because the risk of catastrauphic failure associated with them [though this varias from country to country].

    in this way, cellphones will not interfere with aircraft systems, or hospital systems, or even cause sparks that blow up gas stations. the allegations that such things occur are false. there is no such reason to avoid using cellphones in these situations [though there may be others, for instance, with regards to the phones' interactions with towers on the ground when they are moving so fast past them].

    in summary, there is no good reason to avoid cellphone use on planes. the fcc is the one on the hook.
  • Jul 28th, 2006 @ 5:57pm

    Re: no cell phones (as Flamsmark)

    people - in general - are allowed to use cellphone; whether it's in the park, in a restaurant, or on the bus. there have been alledged technical reasons why cellphone use should be prohibited on planes. if these reasons are valid, they should be respected; otherwise, they should not.

    however, the interactions of other travelers should not be a factor. one does not get to determine when other people may or may not use a cellphone for one's own convenience. there is no reason why it should be any different on a plane.
  • Jul 28th, 2006 @ 5:51pm

    Re: exactly (as Flamsmark)

    it seems clear the RIAA only sues if it thinks it can win.

    how odd: only filing cases when you expect to win. especially when your lawyers are so expensive. how evil is that? i mean, i'm sure you file loads of cases that you expect to loose.

    of course they only file cases they expect to win. anything else would just be idiotic. they may have difficulties with many aspects of reality, but they're not complete idiots.
  • Jul 17th, 2006 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Hmm, that explains it (as Flamsmark)

    that comment isn't funny, it's simply abusive, and offensive.
  • Jul 12th, 2006 @ 4:31am

    Re: criminal charges (as Flamsmark)

    as is stated clearly in UK law, and has been upheld in every case of this kind: carriers are not responsible for the content of the packets that they carry. furthermore, under uk law, at least, copyright violations of this kind are either civil violations, or torts, and as such, it would be impossible for then to impose a secondary *criminal* liability to the ISP.

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