freedomfan 's Techdirt Comments

Latest Comments (107) comment rss

  • Facebook To Start Handing User Info To French Government So It Can Start Punishing People For Being Stupid

    freedomfan ( profile ), 27 Jun, 2019 @ 03:29pm

    Sad that anyone would be so naive

    they’re only doing it for France

    This for all the eye-rolling lolz.

    I wonder if Facebook ever even said they would only do this for France? That seems unlikely and, if true, seems likely to be true for a very short period of time. Why wouldn't every government want to go after dissidents who posted something critical on Facebook†? And, when other governments do, on what basis will Facebook deny them?

    † Aside from not acting like authoritarian scum, which doesn't seem to be something most governments try very hard to avoid.

  • EU Blocks 'Brexit Beer' Trademark, First As 'Offensive', Then As Non-Distinctive

    freedomfan ( profile ), 21 May, 2019 @ 03:51am

    Nothing ironic to see here... Keep moving along...

    Not defending the overall decision on policy grounds, this is a good chunk of why Brexit was approved. People quite reasonably resent distant bureaucrats with very little in the way of real accountability and clearly different sensibilities about what's "offensive" or "distinctive" making decisions about how locals can run their lives, right down to naming their beer. Once again, that doesn't mean Brexit was a great decision. But, for all the wailing about "How could Brexit even happen?" and "Why would anyone vote for Brexit?", this is how and why.

    And, while the beer trademark issue might seem like a minor thing or an anecdotal case, it would be easy to cite more cases of wheedling decisions made far away that piss people off. Some of those will be of trifling importance. But some... less so. We don't hear this angle on things much, but for sure there are people out there who grumble about things like the European Copyright Directive, the right to be forgotten, and so on and don't see much difference between the asshole beer trademark bureaucrats and the asshole bureaucrats ruining the internet.

  • Facebook's 'Please Regulate Us' Tour Heads To France

    freedomfan ( profile ), 13 May, 2019 @ 11:31pm

    Facebook understands that you can't have regulatory capture without regulations.

    They understand that artificial barriers to market entry benefit the big players in the market, and they are the biggest player in their market.

    They understand that the next Facebook would be their competition. But, that competition can be killed in the womb by regulations. Just as Facebook never would have gotten off the ground if Zuck & Co. had thought, "Here we have a potentially game-changing idea for a technology business. Now, to hell with engineers, programmers, UI designers, network experts to get this thing to work at scale. Let's hire a $1,000,000 worth of lawyers to make sure we are compliant with the social media regulations, many of which will vary from country to country and won't really be settled law until years after the legislation is passed."

    In short, they are like everyone else who climbs to the top then decides to burn the ropes that they climbed to get there.

  • The Emmys Are Still Going After A Pet Products Company Despite All The Concessions They've Been Given

    freedomfan ( profile ), 10 Apr, 2019 @ 02:19pm

    Nice work, NATAS !

    Dear NATAS,

    Here I was looking to find information about the organization that gives out awards for funny, sad, charming, and sometimes groundbreaking television programming. Now, I find out that you have branched out into despicable trademark bullying, and in an arena where no one could say with a straight face that there was any consumer confusion between the marks. Great way to grow the brand!

    As a friendly suggestion, I would turn your attention to any name similarities in the proctology business. After this current anti-puppy move, your mark will be so closely associated with a-holes that big legal victories would surely be headed your way in this other arena.


  • Former Police Chief Says Conviction Requirement For Forfeitures Makes It Too Hard To Take Cash From People

    freedomfan ( profile ), 08 Apr, 2019 @ 11:58pm

    Law enforcement will be severely handicapped if state lawmakers succumb to the misconception that no forfeiture should take place without a conviction on proceeds under $50,000. It is a dramatic misunderstanding that a conviction can be obtained in all drug cases. [...]

    Actually, the misconceptions and dramatic misunderstandings are the chief's. There are almost too many to mention in his op-ed. But, the biggest dramatic misconception is that it's law enforcement's job to punish people. It isn't. And, it isn't anyone in government's job to punish people without a conviction. Frankly, someone with that attitude shouldn't be anywhere near a badge. But, the sad truth is that too many people just accept the idea, reflecting the sorry state of civics education in this country as much as anything else.

  • DNA-Matching Company Decides To Open Its Doors To The FBI Without Bothering To Inform Its Users

    freedomfan ( profile ), 05 Feb, 2019 @ 08:51pm

    Re: Re: what's the downside?

    Just to be clear, in the unlikely event that "law enforcement demonstrates some responsibility in use of its considerable ability to conduct such assaults", there are still issues with private companies handing the government ever larger pools of customer data in which to conduct fishing expeditions. The best thing that could happen here is that or whoever this company is 1) gets widespread attention for allowing access to customer data to the feds, 2) loses most of its customers, 3) goes out of business, 4) other companies pay close attention to 1) through 3) and realize that their business is better served by putting their customers' interests over those of the feds.

  • Towns And Cities Keep Ditching Comcast To Build Their Own Broadband Networks

    freedomfan ( profile ), 04 Jan, 2019 @ 10:13am

    Re: Wrong definition

    You're right of course. I let myself get distracted and focused on the wrong point. That point is that Comcast, AT&T, etc. are not just natural monopolies - they are government-supported monopolies. They got the way they are with government subsidies and regulations that favored them. If we want to convince people of the value of things like community broadband efforts and some regulatory oversight of these monopolies, we would do well to emphasize that they came to their dominant positions with government help, and not simply by straightforward free market competition. By making that point up-front in these articles, we might avoid some of the knee-jerk tribal opposition that tries to paint every issue as a simple red-blue conflict. (Just look at posts further up in these comments for examples.)

  • Towns And Cities Keep Ditching Comcast To Build Their Own Broadband Networks

    freedomfan ( profile ), 03 Jan, 2019 @ 06:18pm

    Re: Not really "natural" monopolies

    You make a point that I wish Mr. Bode would emphasize when he writes these articles: Comcast, AT&T, et alii are not really natural monopolies. They have a long history of government subsidization and sweetheart deals, both in terms of exclusivity provisions when extending service to various communities and in actual "We will upgrade the lines in exchange for direct payments and tax breaks" deals. For a long time, it was basically illegal to hook up non-AT&T hardware to your phone line. And, how many cities ended up with one cable provider, in exchange for a couple of community access channels or some other BS? So, these regional monopolies are, to a significant extent, government-created. Bode makes a strong case that some government action will be needed to get things to a point where actual competition works in this market. I tend to favor minimal government intervention in the marketplace. However, I also understand that when government created the knot, sometimes government is needed to untangle it. We could get more people on board with that idea if it were made clear that this is not some "government control versus the free market" scenario. This is a situation where, for most of the country, nothing like a free market exists and never really has.

  • Google Fights In EU Court Against Ability Of One Country To Censor The Global Internet

    freedomfan ( profile ), 13 Sep, 2018 @ 08:02pm

    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?

  • Google Fights In EU Court Against Ability Of One Country To Censor The Global Internet

    freedomfan ( profile ), 13 Sep, 2018 @ 07:47pm

    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!

  • How The EU May Be About To Kill The Public Domain: Copyright Filters Takedown Beethoven

    freedomfan ( profile ), 28 Aug, 2018 @ 07:39am

    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?

  • BBC Migrates Everything To HTTPS, Immediately Finds Itself Blocked By The Chinese Government

    freedomfan ( profile ), 06 Aug, 2018 @ 07:23pm

    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.

  • Election Security Has Become A Partisan Issue As Senate Votes Down Funding

    freedomfan ( profile ), 03 Aug, 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.

  • Microsoft And Nintendo Team Up To Troll Playstation In Ads For Not Giving Gamers What They Want

    freedomfan ( profile ), 23 Jun, 2018 @ 01:19pm

    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.

  • Microsoft And Nintendo Team Up To Troll Playstation In Ads For Not Giving Gamers What They Want

    freedomfan ( profile ), 22 Jun, 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.

  • Security Researcher At The Center Of Emoji-Gate Heading Home After Feds Drop Five Felony Charges

    freedomfan ( profile ), 23 Mar, 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?

  • House Staples Extraterritorial Search Permissions Onto 2,232-Page Budget Bill; Passes It

    freedomfan ( profile ), 23 Mar, 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!"

  • How 'Regulating Facebook' Could Make Everyone's Concerns Worse, Not Better

    freedomfan ( profile ), 21 Mar, 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.

  • Devin Nunes Releases Memo That Doesn't Show The Surveillance Abuses He Hypocritically 'Cares' About

    freedomfan ( profile ), 06 Feb, 2018 @ 03:17am

    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.

  • Trump Doesn't Understand Surveillance Powers; House Votes To Give Him More Of It

    freedomfan ( profile ), 11 Jan, 2018 @ 05:10pm

    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.

Next >>