Not an Electronic Rodent’s Techdirt Profile


About Not an Electronic Rodent

Not an Electronic Rodent’s Comments comment rss

  • Mar 30th, 2017 @ 12:51am

    Re: Re: Sounds familiar

    Judges are expected to be experts in law, not computer technology, or biology, or urban planning, or any of a thousand other professional disciplines

    ...But if he were ruling on a case of theft, you'd want him to have a knowledge of the concept of property ownership first, right?

    "As you can see, judge, we clearly have the receipts for the car and the video footage of plaintiff breaking into the garage and driving away with the vehicle"

    "Yeah, but you weren't using it at the time, right? What did you need it for? Case dismissed!"

  • Mar 28th, 2017 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: This Was Going To Happen Sooner Or Later

    The question is who spills the most blood? The citizens or the police?

    That's even a question? From a very very quick-and-dirty look:

    42 US police officers killed in the line of duty in 2015

    Proper stats of citizens killed by police hard to find but according to the Bureau Of Justice Statistics: "From 2003 to 2009, a reported 4,813 persons died during or shortly after law enforcement personnel attempted to arrest or restrain them.". I make that an average of about 700 a year.

  • Mar 28th, 2017 @ 6:51am

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

    Yet, these people will tell you that it's only by having that risk that you can be free.

    Yeah, noticed that too... I love guns and think the UK laws make little sense (since there's a lot knee-jerk laws from certain crimes), but the US situation looks kinda insane from the outside. Maybe the problem is this:

    "For reasons passing understanding [Americans] do not relate guns to gun-related crime"

    • President Andrew Shepherd (Aaron Sorkin)

  • Mar 27th, 2017 @ 7:08am

    Not just them

    You'll know the entire sector has actually learned some sort of lesson when the cost of traditional cable drops.

    Except, it's not just them that has to learn, is it?

    Cable executives say they can’t pass on savings since their programming costs are still rising faster than cable bill increases.

    The "this programme is worth $36gazillion because we say it is and, well, copyright" attitude of the major content producing companies would have to change too.

    Suspension of respiration pending outcome ill advised...

  • Mar 17th, 2017 @ 3:59pm


    The DHS head even suggested withholding this information would no longer be an option -- that demands for account passwords were on the way.

    Isn't sharing your password with anyone technically a violation of the terms of service of most social media sites? Meaning that anyone crossing the US border and complying with this is liable to have their account disabled? Wow, what a plan! "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free... and tell them to f*ck right off!"

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Certainly an impovement

    Is that before or after the recent decision to enforce a definitive split?

    Before; direct experience of dealing with Openreach and quite a number of different ISPs, which is not bang-up-to-date. I share the hope that the board split will help, but the cynic in me doubts it somewhat since the money will still come together at the top and I suspect money will end up talking as usual.

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 6:52am

    Certainly an impovement

    the important element is that the resulting basic network be a wholesale facility that any retail actor can use at a reasonable, fair cost.

    That sounds sort of like the situation here in the UK - BT Openreach, who own all the pre-existing and therefore the lion's share of last-mile delivery are forced by regulation to rent lines to any ISP/telecom at semi-"reasonable" rates or to allow co-lo installation of competitor's cabinets in their exchanges if they want to provide their own last-mile delivery. BT retail is at least theoretically a separate company and has to take lines from BT Openreach on basically the same pricing model as anyone else.

    Doesn't quite work and it might have been better if the infrastructure were directly publicly regulated instead of being privately owned, since the relationship between BT retail / Openreach is still a little too cosy to make it truly competitive... but at least the situation is way better than the US sounds - there are usually at least 4 ISPs to choose from even in most rural areas. (Though obviously fiber investment is kinda slow in the sticks)

  • Mar 11th, 2017 @ 5:35am


    If you want companies to prioritize consumer privacy - and it will never top 'profits' as a company's number one priority - then you need to let them know (by not purchasing shit just because its shoveled in front of you) that its important to you.

    There's something to what you say, though I suspect in many cases it's lack of knowledge rather than apathy. Most people I mention this kind of stuff to are surprised to learn just how vulnerable or intrusive this stuff can be.

    Plus, it's not that simple - take "smart" TV's for example. Bought one a couple of years ago - big screen - in full knowledge of the abortion that is security and privacy on the things. Because I don't care? No, because my previous big screen died and you can't buy a NON-smart screen in this country now without paying double the price.

    So my choices are; don't have a TV, pay a fortune, or buy the thing and make sure it's never anything than a dumb screen. Guess which is the only practical option? Also, for bonus points, guess how much response I got from the company for pointing out the insane cost of a screen with less in it and why I wanted one?

  • Mar 11th, 2017 @ 4:57am

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

    Now, if we could find a way to punish those that feed trolls, even those who do so for fun.

    Straight in with the negative reinforcement? Sounds a bit heavy handed.

    I think that particular problem could be solved easily by choice. I.e. amend the comment engine so you can collapse a comment tree or sub-tree entirely to choose not to read it.

    The number of times I've given up on reading comments entirely because I can't be bothered to scroll past the 15 pages of Monty-Python-Style-Argument with a troll.... ("But this isn't an argument; it's just contradiction", "No it isn't!"). Just as people should have the choice what to post, it'd be nice to be able to skip entirely past what you choose not to read to get to what comes after.

  • Mar 9th, 2017 @ 6:49am


    If we are lucky, some of these media giants that are in pure denial will become another Kodak.

    A good wish indeed, but rather less likely I imagine; Despite the similar reality denial, unlike Kodak the big media companies are more in a position to buy laws to prop up their version of reality and in the current administration, I imagine a "helpful suggestion" is all it'd take anyway. But I can hope I'm wrong...

  • Feb 24th, 2017 @ 2:44am

    Re: Low Level Background Disorder

    Are UK schools boring their students to death?

    Actually... yes. Increasingly, UK curricula seem to focus on rote-learning of methods of dubious validity and/or politically-correct-skewed drivel that often has little to do with the subject at hand (e.g. "Physics" that focuses about the importance of speed enforcement on roads without any of the maths behind it, or chemistry that talks about the need for recycling without discussing the chemistry or even amounts of energy involved).

    If I were at school now, I'd be bored to death by it and as a parent it's hard to keep telling my child how important it is to go to school and get an "education".

  • Feb 24th, 2017 @ 2:34am


    What's missing from the Td article is how much of these bogus claims go against users, doing nothing more than providing videos (mostly under Fair Use).

    This is a good point - it'd be an interesting ancillary statistic to see how much of the 0.05% of valid URLs are actually anywhere close to valid copyright claims. I'm guessing that, even if you left in anything that even might be valid if you tilt your head and squint really hard, you'd struggle to rise above 0.025% valid notices.

  • Feb 23rd, 2017 @ 12:40pm


    I don't think the point of the cameras would be to review footage and try to find petty crimes or misdemeanors to chase down, but rather to provide a better perspective of what happens during the most intense student and teacher interactions

    True, that would be the point and certainly the justification of introducing them. Once they're there, mission creep is virtually guaranteed. Put it this way; who, other than the "wrongdoers" (which everyone thinks is "someone else") would object when someone suggests the next thing you could use the footage for? The UK is already the most massively surveilled country on the planet and I can't see more improving things in any respect.

    Considering how much Techdirt pushes for police to have such cameras, it seems reasonable to think they may be useful in other situations.

    VERY different situations. Part of the point of putting body cameras on police is that you want both parties to modify their behaviour because it may be observed and evidenced. In a classroom, you want (within limits) free expression and exploration. You put teachers and students in the same situation of constant surveillance, you're going to negatively affect learning.

  • Feb 23rd, 2017 @ 11:17am


    "It’s clear that Pai is serious about closing the digital divide between those who use cutting-edge communications services and those who do not."

    Well, from a certain angle that might even be true! After all, if you're only interested in the US, then eventually the lack of investment will make sure that no-one uses "cutting-edge communications". Divide problem solved!

  • Feb 8th, 2017 @ 12:36am

    Re: The Fourth Amendment

    This amendment contains no specification as to what form a person's papers and effects may take, and as has already been pointed out above, its protection extends to any technological format used to store such information. It is illogical and incorrect to assume that such electronic messages somehow lose that protection merely due to age.

    Then it appears that logically, while knowing sod-all about law (especially US law) which isn't always logical, isn't the way to challenge this to get a whole bunch of people who've had their emails searched and challenge it in court as unconstitutional? Wouldn't that supersede a specific law, whatever it says?

  • Feb 7th, 2017 @ 6:13am


    Yeah, the semantic gymnastics needed to pull off this manoeuvre are impressive;

    "We'll investigate, but we won't say we're investigating until the investigation passes some more-or-less arbitrary line for investigation at which point we'll call it an investigation and investigate."

    That's some serious word-fu!

  • Jan 31st, 2017 @ 7:51am


    there are at least two sides here: the nation of the people and the nation of the govt/corporations. careful when you say our side. which america are you speaking to?

    I think his point was that Trump will at least do what he thinks is good for America - at least the bit with him in it. Conversely, he has no motivation whatsoever for doing anything good for any part of the UK. And with a leader likely to roll over and let him tickle her... hmm.. belly, that puts us in way worse shape.

  • Jan 27th, 2017 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bullfucking shit!

    Which all sounds splendid, I'm sure, and terribly Rambo. On the other hand, even with all those toys, it still wouldn't run a war for very long, would it? Buying the toys is only a tiny fraction of the cost of war. Plus, none of it seems to get you very far against real war toys

    Interesting Harvard study, BTW... I guess Americans are just more homicidal by nature than other western first-world countries then.

    BUT, in the case of a revolution, one billionaire wouldn’t be supplying a civilian militia per say. Civilians would buy these sorts of things unless they were already armed.

    So, is your contention that all US citizens should already be stockpiling military-grade weapons just in case of a revolution being necessary? Doesn't sound massively practical considering that 30% of the earning power in the top 1% must skew that $56k average somewhat and in US equivalent, my own family would be above that and couldn't find the money to support a firearm habit. Or is your contention that, in the event of the hypothetical revolution, everyone will be able to buy all these things without any interference from the government and military?

    Honestly, you should be more scared of a road related accident or heart disease than the still VERY improbable chance that you will be killed in a mass shooting.

    I am. In fact I made that very point about heart disease when you were claiming government was the biggest killer. Yes, even in the US the chances of actually being in a mass shooting are small. I can't imagine that's much comfort to the coming up for 2000 Americans killed or injured in them last year. Nor can I imagine it would be improved if the probably unstable people responsible had had access to more destructive weaponry. By the way, the equivalent statistic for Europe (and Russia) is rather less - a bit over 200 when Europe's population is twice the US.

  • Jan 27th, 2017 @ 7:37am


    A cynic might almost think the UK government doesn't really care what its Surveillance Camera Commissioner recommends.

    Well, Duh!

    Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, we always dispose of the difficult bit in the title. Does less harm there than in the text.

  • Jan 26th, 2017 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bullfucking shit!

    yea, we have NEVER seen a government abuse it's authority at all have we? Government has murdered more people than any WAR or group of criminals on the planet.

    Well, most wars have historically been started in the name of religion and far as I know the top killer, even in America, is heart disease. Added to that, a quick bit of research suggests there were about as many gun-related homicides in America as there were civilian deaths in Iraq from '03-'13 so that claim smacks of hyperbole.

    But all that's rather beside the point. My points were;

    A/ The "right" to have whatever BFG you think does the job is irrelevant in your hypothetical revolution when anyone capable of affording hardware destructive enough to match the most expensively equipped military on the planet is still not going to be able to afford ENOUGH of it to make a difference. Any BFG anyone but a billionaire can afford is likely to be about as effective as urinating off the windward side of a boat.

    B/ Are you really claiming that the situation in America would be improved if, for example, the people who perpetrated the 136 mass shooting incidents last year had had easy access to, say, medium range missiles and military grade explosives?

More comments from Not an Electronic Rodent >>