freedomfan’s Techdirt Profile


About freedomfan

freedomfan’s Comments comment rss

  • Sep 13th, 2018 @ 8:02pm

    France guarantees circumvention of this law

    Totally agree that there is no reasonable way to let any ( == every ) government censor whatever it wants on a worldwide basis and maintain anything approaching free speech. The French government is utterly on the wrong side of this one.


    If Google is only required to suppress information in France, then if someone really wants to, they can still find that information by presenting themselves as surfing from somewhere else. Which is true. But that limited risk -- which would likely only occur in the very narrowest of circumstances [...]

    This would not occur rarely. If I were, say, a French journalist, and I knew that facts were routinely being memory holed inside France, I would certainly be doing all of my searches from a non-French IP. Even as a non-journalist, if I thought that only way to get the real story on a politician or other public figure was to set my VPN to somewhere in Quebec or Belgium, then that's exactly what I would do. Because of that, even if the French scheme were to work, it would only guarantee a right to be forgotten for people who aren't known anyway.

    Any bets on how long it takes for a GoogleDiff service to be developed that shows the difference in results of searches sent from two different regions?

  • Sep 13th, 2018 @ 7:47pm

    French perspective...

    FRANCE: We want nasty speech (as we define it) removed from the world.
    GOOGLE: We can only keep it out of France. Sort of a Maginot Line of defense for France.
    FRANCE: Mon Dieu!

  • Aug 28th, 2018 @ 7:39am

    Add monetary disincentives for trolls to legislated mandates ?

    I happen to be among those who tilts toward the "copyright should be phased out entirely" school of thought.

    However, it's not going away any time soon. I would suggest that present-day goals include

    1) Support IP reform to keep the lengths of copyrights reasonable. No "forever and a day" IP of any sort besides trademarks. Something in the 15-25 years range is plenty of time to turn a buck on created works.

    2) Support reform to ensure that a) public domain works stay public domain and b) fair use is not diminished.

    3) Oppose all legislation that mandates certain technologies be used to "automagically" remove IP violations. That doesn't mean that companies cannot attempt to develop/use such software. But, it should not be mandated that technology that doesn't currently work well (and possibly may never work well) be required. This should be obvious: Don't force anyone to use unproven tech.

    4) Any mandated automated systems used to report / remove content MUST a) only be usable by copyright owners (no proxies); b) have a requirement for clear and verifiable attribution of copyright ownership; c) include substantial monetary disincentives that discourage misreporting IP violations and otherwise spamming of take-down requests. Think $5000 (or whatever) for false or failed copyright violation claims.

    This last point is the most important. The take-down systems aren't going away, so a goal has to be to make them better. But, that won't happen if there is no incentive for those who actually use them to make them better. If the trolls can happily spam away take-down requests and never see any cost for getting it wrong, why would they ever stop?

  • Aug 6th, 2018 @ 7:23pm

    (untitled comment)

    the capitalist heart of the authoritarian government

    That's an... interesting take.

    Dickering aside, this is yet more evidence that authoritarian regimes consistently fear an informed populace.

  • Aug 3rd, 2018 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: everything is partisan

    So - do nothing ... great, as this is exactly what congress is doing - brilliant!

    Actually, I'd say that what congress does most is spend other people's money on problems, while claiming that such expenditures will fix them. I (and presumably this should not be rare here) am dubious that the problems are usually fixed as a result.

    That's not to say that federal money given to states as proposed in the amendment wouldn't increase election security. I have no idea. But, I lean toward the "provide some solid evidence/reasoning that this approach will work before we fund it" camp and away from the "pay and pray" camp.

  • Jun 23rd, 2018 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Yeah, but "trolling" ?

    If MS or Nintendo are running ads that are actually what most people would think of as trolling Sony, then the article easily could have linked to them. Trolling generally has a negative connotation, so there ought to be some evidence presented that it's going on before using the term, IMO.

    BTW, there may be a reading comprehension issue here, since I never said I disagreed with the main thrust of the article, aside from the use of the one term. And, I haven't commented on an article here in months, despite reading techdirt nearly every day. However, feel free to take your own advice.

  • Jun 22nd, 2018 @ 11:34pm

    Yeah, but "trolling" ?

    Interesting article. But, is the ad really "trolling"? Seems like a stretch to me. I usually associate trolling with a fairly unsubtle attempt to get a rise out of the target. In contrast, the embedded just ad highlights a feature available with the advertisers' products. Isn't that largely what ads do? Admittedly, it's unusual to see joint ads by makers of competitive products. But, still, "trolling"?

    The ad doesn't even mention Sony and, in fact, never even directly mentions that the cross play isn't available on Sony's product. If that's really fairly characterized as "trolling" these days, then what isn't trolling? The term is diminished into meh-dom.

  • Mar 23rd, 2018 @ 11:09am

    Justice still has not prevailed here.

    Shafer, who spent eight months in jail for blogging about the FBI raiding his residence repeatedly, is finally going home.

    How much time will be spent in prison by those who raided his home on trumped-up allegations that were so incredibly weak that the judge had to warn prosecutors not to pursue them?

    Is the previous judge who violated Shafer's first amendment rights still on the bench?

    Is the prosecutor whose prosecutorial descretion led him or her to take this case to court still employed? Sanctioned by the bar?

    Yeah, pretty much what I thought. So, what incentive do any of those wrong-doers have for not doing this again?

  • Mar 23rd, 2018 @ 10:57am

    Gaping 4th Amendment Hole

    So, someone in the U.S. Government who has no probable cause wants to fish through a U.S. citizen's data that's stored in the U.S. That person (who could be law enforcement, or just a politically connected slimer) finds a compliant shithole country* and has them demand the information from the email / cloud storage / remote backup / forum site / etc. provider and then turn it over to the U.S. person conducting the fishing expedition. This seems like an obvious end-run around the 4th Amendment.

    (* Apologies, but I understand that to be the term used by top U.S. officials.)

    I am annoyed that such a loophole has found its way into law. But, I am even more annoyed that it is such and obvious problem and still the law was passed. Legislation like this should only be introduced as a test. Any politician who votes for it is disqualified from voting on any actual legislation. They still get to wear a suit and pretend to be a grown up. But, much like those Fisher-Price car seat toys for kids with the plastic steering wheel and horn so that toddlers can pretend they are driving while mom or dad actually pilots the car, the politicians' voting devices aren't actually connected to anything. It just accepts the vote and says, "Thank you for voting on this important legislation. You are a big boy now!"

  • Mar 21st, 2018 @ 11:08am

    Another well-intended, bad idea

    Heaven save us from non-solutions to problems.

    It is interesting to me to see proponents using the Know Your Customer banking regulations as a template. And, no doubt, to encourage politicians to think that this is the sort of thing they already do and are good at.

    But, Know Your Customer is better called Spy on Your Customer for the Government. And, it's sort of a dumpster fire, forcing financial institutions into the "detecting vague federal financial crimes" business that they aren't good at, catching people that haven't done anything wrong, and encouraging banks to store all sorts of customer data that - please sing along with me - will eventually be hacked and stolen. And, of course, it persists largely because courts are willing to ignore the 4th amendment and let the government force 3rd parties to spy on you when they have no actual evidence that you have committed a crime.

    Like most laws that punishes activity that isn't actually criminal in itself, but that criminals often do, KYC sweeps up the innocent along with the guilty. Want to transfer $10k or more from your account? The government gets a report that you did that. Do that too many times or as part of a "suspicious" pattern and you may find yourself the target of a federal investigation.

    The idea that Facebook or other platforms should be spying on its users (more than it already does) and sending it reports to the government is another well-intended (I am hoping) but bad idea.

  • Feb 6th, 2018 @ 3:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Knew Techdirt would deny, so here's a link that covers ALL:

    I could give a hoot about Nunez and Trump. But, using your scenario, if the cops knew that the tipster had an axe to grind against the neighbor and that his assertions about a meth lab were likely to be BS, then they should be required have something more credible before getting a warrant and definitely shouldn't go busting any doors down based on that "info".

    Just to be doubly clear, I think Trump, Nunez, and most Republicans are pathetic on surveillance issues. Just like Obama, Feinstein, and most Democrats. Ditto the FBI. Nevertheless, if it turns out a federal agency was using marginal intel to get FISA approval for spying on Americans (and not telling the Court what it knew about the dubiousness of the intel), then heads should roll.

  • Jan 11th, 2018 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Re: Besties?

    I guess if I thought the President (this one or any other) were listening to what I have to say, then I would want to make the best case for my opinions and have it appeal to him.

    I have no idea how much attention this President actually pays to Fox & Friends (I cut the cable over a decade ago) and it's pointless to speculate. But, I can see the participants of the show addressing him directly 1) because he might be listening and 2) because it appeals to the audience to give the impression that the President listens and that the audience gets to hear whatever "advice" they give him. I have heard hosts on other networks act similarly, so it's probably a useful tactic.

  • Jan 11th, 2018 @ 11:04am


    Really? How is Andrew Napolitano one of Trump's "besties"? I am not sure how Mike Masnick thinks that is an fair characterization.

    Anyway, best of luck of Rand Paul and Ron Wyden in blocking this in the Senate.

  • Jan 5th, 2018 @ 11:51pm

    Third Party Doctrine == Crap

    Once again, the third party doctrine is based on nothing, is counterintuitive to the citizenry in many situations, and yields absurd results. Dump it. I know the odds may be against SCOTUS eliminating the TPD, but cases like this highlight why it should and why the public should be outraged by it.

    The basic notion that a citizen's interaction with another citizen or entity necessarily happens without any expectation of privacy is ridiculous. Of course I expect the phone company to keep my location information private. If Verizon, AT&T, et al. published an open web page where one could look up the location information of a given person or phone number, people would be outraged. And, frankly, I'd bet the government would be, too. In that hypothetical, how long would it be before some politician or state's attorney decided to go after the mobile carrier for doing that? So, clearly, people do expect that such information is private.

    Why do these law enforcement agencies work so hard to sidestep and undermine the U.S. Bill of Rights? Why do they hate America?

  • Jan 3rd, 2018 @ 3:27pm

    Why do they need to search devices at all?

    How does bringing data (whatever it happens to be) into the country constitute a threat to the country? Or a crime at all? Data isn't drugs, or trafficking minors for sex, or terrorism, or whatever the buggaboo of the day is.

    Any response I have heard to that question tends to fall into the framework of "but the data might be evidence of a crime", which it certainly might be. So, show that the crime has been committed and probable cause that the person whose stuff is being searched committed the specific crime and then search his stuff. And, if the government actually has all that, then they wouldn't have any trouble getting a warrant. So, why not just go the full distance and pretend this is America and get the g*ddamned warrant?

    Instead, what we have is a sort of a 100-mile-fishing-expedition policy.

  • Nov 29th, 2017 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: the regulation isn't the same as the goal

    Actually, the headline of the article is the Cuban is clueless about NN rules. But, at least part of what Cuban is saying is that redefining the sector (reclassifying broadband services under Title II) gives the government more authority to regulate how the internet runs (that reclassification is not limited to NN) and that the people doing that regulation are not always going to be the people that pro-NN folks want in charge.

    The narrow point is that NN may be a worthwhile good. The broader point is that regulation isn't as a straightforward good, because it gives government more authority, which we then have no assurance that it will use in the way that we want.

  • Nov 29th, 2017 @ 11:32am

    the regulation isn't the same as the goal

    I am okay with net neutrality rules. I think there is enough evidence of insufficient competition in this market and of companies like Comcast and it's cohorts doing sneaky (and sometimes not-so-sneaky) things that amount to charging different rates for the same ones and zeros (usually while calling them a different "kind" of data).

    However, people on the pro-net neutrality side need to acknowledge a simple truth: The regulations ostensibly intended to accomplish X are not the same as X, even if they initially look similar. What technically aware people think of as net neutrality will not be the same as what the government is able to do under the guise of ensuring net neutrality. It's important to understand that government isn't some wizard casting a net neutrality spell on the internet and then, magically, we have net neutrality. I know that sounds silly, but that's often effectively what people assume with many kinds of regulation. Instead, the government assumes some power to regulate something and then a bunch of rules come out of that. The government then applies (often very selective) discretion in enforcing those rules. That's the reality. Rarely, that enforcement comes close to the ideal and often it does not.

    People on Techdirt rightly complain about the ill effects of regulatory capture and similar issues. We need to acknowledge that that is in play with net neutrality as well. Similarly, we see many cases where the government is given the authority to do something that's ostensibly useful and it ends up getting used to do something abusive. That is in play here as well.

    I have no idea what's in Cuban's head. But, it's a worthwhile point that, even if net neutrality stays as it has been, Trump's people will be in charge of enforcing the regulations. It's a valid point that changing how this tech sector is defined such that government has more authority over it is giving Trump's people more influence over how the sector is run. I think Mr. Bode has made a strong case that Trump's people are not to be counted on to enforce the rules in ways consistent with what most of us want. We can't go around thinking that, since someone whose views on the topic were more appealing was in charge when the rule was implemented that somehow that cements how it will be used when the next guy comes along. It doesn't. We give the government some authority and the person in charge right now will use it as he sees fit.

  • Nov 13th, 2017 @ 11:57am

    (untitled comment)

    Civil asset forfeiture is the government saying, "Remember all that happy talk about due process and innocent-until-proven-guilty? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

    Civil asset forfeiture should not be a tool of law enforcement. Full stop. If someone has broken the law, then gather the evidence, arrest them, prove it in court, and then a judge decides whether the state can confiscate their ill-gotten gains. That's criminal asset forfeiture. It's typically hard to argue against, which is why Rosenstein is trying to conflate it with what he's defending. Skipping the first three steps (and, in so doing, calling into question the critical "ill-gotten" part of the last step) is civil asset forfeiture and it is an affront to anything one could call justice.

    The deceptions and outright lies Rosenstein makes are a reflection of how desperate the pro-theft crowd have gotten. They know that, in the end, arguing that government should be able to take people's stuff without a trial is a loser. Everytime they have a compelling example of an actual bad guy, the obvious response is, "So, why not convict him, so we can take his stuff and get him off the street?" Every other example is one of either potential or obvious abuse, where they have a hard time showing there was ever an actual bad guy.

  • Nov 9th, 2017 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: Attitudes incompatible with good policing

    And... the strawman cometh.

    No one said they were the bring-me-a-glass-of-water kind servant. And, frankly, it's difficult to believe anyone reading is biased enough to think that is what was meant. The idea that public servants should understand that they serve the public simply cannot be that hard to grasp.

    BTW, if someone tells an officer to get him a glass of water and the officer responds by punching that person in the face, the officer should be arrested for assault and fired, just as would be appropriate for anyone else who reacted that way. I certainly hope that any poster here who thinks that sort of violent response to a minor verbal indignity is appropriate for a police officer doesn't have a badge.

  • Nov 8th, 2017 @ 10:27pm

    Re: When will...

    When will the age of politicians exhibiting a solid understanding of anything (aside from politics itself) actually reach politics? The best evidence seems to indicate: never. Seriously, politicians routinely demonstrate a deeply flawed understanding of economics, medicine, law enforcement, science, etc. I would love it if things were somehow different with high-tech fields, but I don't see why they would be.

    The real question is: Why do we trust politicians to deal with these issues and clamor for government to "fix" problems the people running it know so little about?

More comments from freedomfan >>