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Jan Bilek’s Techdirt Profile


About Jan Bilek

Web developer, cycling enthusiast, backpacker. Life is great, isn't it?

Jan Bilek’s Comments comment rss

  • Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:30am

    security uber alles

    Exactly, "security uber alles". What is surprising to me is that security is used as some kind of absolute argument, like it's some kind of absolute value that justifies anything. What about other values? Where is the line and why is there no discussion about it? When I read a story about TSA agents stripping down a dying old lady to make sure there is no bomb in her diaper I just think that I would rather risk dying in a terrorist attack than live in a society that needs do that to feel safe.

    At what point does reasonable safety turns into cowardly society?
  • Aug 20th, 2013 @ 2:20am

    Re: They had no choice.

    I believe that we should be able to laugh at anything and I do not mean to criticise you for making fun of this situation. I just want to say that I personally find it incredibly difficult to laugh at this. I grew up in an authoritarian regime and it is my impression that people from countries with no experience with authoritarian government mostly do not realize how really really bad and sad news this is.
  • Aug 4th, 2013 @ 11:55pm

    This is totalitarianism

    This seems really important to me and not at all funny. I grew up in a totalitarian regime and this kind of re-defining common language was one of the most powerful tools the regime could use to retain power and keep people in constant fear. For example the crime of 'disruption of public order' could be used to put basically anybody to jail because the term could be twisted to fit any behaviour that the regime did not like - for example when you criticised some official or communist party member or complained about something publicly.

    Actually I believe that the ability of the government or any other group of people to redefine common language and inability of people to force government to use their version of language means that the power distribution in society is seriously skewed and therefore this is a strong sign of failing democracy. It's really scary to observe that in the US
  • Feb 5th, 2013 @ 2:33pm

    Do not negotiate!

    Do not negotiate with terrorists. Simple as that. I am not saying that patent trolls are terrorists. I am just saying the same logic applies here and similar set of incentives - if you ever make deals with terrorists you make terrorism useful and you create an incentive to do terrorist acts. And I say that knowing that sometimes it takes incredible guts not to make a deal with terrorists.
  • Jan 16th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Double standards

    I she prosecuted herself the same way she apparently prosecuted others she would be facing death penalty right now.
  • Nov 8th, 2012 @ 2:54am


    I live in EU and Silicon Valley has always been 'the Paradise' for all start-ups here - everybody dreamed about going to the Valley and those who got there were adored and celebrated. But I feel this is slowly changing. I have nothing to prove it - it's just some anecdotal evidence but when I talk to people sometimes it's like "Silicon Valley is the best... but you get hit by a patent lawsuit as soon as you are successful so what's the point... maybe let's go to Chile or London instead, those places are also cool."

    Do you observe anything like that in the Valley?
  • Sep 29th, 2012 @ 12:44am

    cost of litigations

    I live in the Czech Republic and it's pretty common here that if you sue someone and you loose you have to pay their legal costs - it's considered fair and 'normal'. I hear that this is very unusual in the United States. Why? It seems to handle this problem reasonably well - and I don't mean just patent trolls but generally legal trolls, entities using high litigation costs as an extortion leverage.
  • Sep 14th, 2012 @ 3:01am

    EFF is not entirely correct

    It would not be "YouTube Knows Best moral policing" - it would be much worse. It would be "the most violent and feared gets to do moral policing".
  • Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Must be nice...

    When I was reading that bit "all that money is a means to an end, and the end is to get re-elected" I was like "what the hell does he mean by that? Why would a politician care about voters or being re-elected when he already has the money... and going to politics is just means to get the money, right?" Why would you care about voters after you "sell out" and are financially set for the rest of your life?

    Then it hit me - aah, it was not an euphemism, he probably means real legal lobbying... like when a politician can only use the money for the political campaign and not buying yachts and houses at Bahamas. It must be nice to live in a country where you just assume that lobbying is mostly legal and politicians (and therefore laws) cannot just be bought.

    I know how it looks... but I am not cynical.
  • Aug 17th, 2012 @ 2:25am

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

    I respectfully disagree... even from personal experience. I had the opportunity to compare living in Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic before and after the revolution... and the "after" is way better. I would argue that at least anti-communist revolutions were kind of success.

    Even the French revolution - despite guillotines and "regressions" - could be considered great success - it basically laid groundwork for modern democracies - liberté, égalité, fraternité, who could argue wit that, right?
  • Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:28pm

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

    Let me remind you that the revolution does not necessarily need to be bloody. I had the opportunity to witness one revolution that was non-violent and yet capable of overthrowing the regime (the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, 1989). Something like that can happen again... maybe even in the US if things get bad enough.

    And a fun fact: I also remember that even few days before the revolution almost nobody believed any revolution would be possible. Things like that can escalate surprisingly quickly.

    Although my guess is that in your country things will need to get much worse before regular people start to care. I have not stepped on US soil for almost ten years now but from what I hear it's still too easy to avoid seeing bad things that your government does just by not watching the news.
  • Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 3:42am

    Re: Re:

    Unfortunately I am afraid it's not that easy to implement a distributed search engine that would be fast and as easy to use as normal search engines, accessible without installing anything etc.
  • Jan 30th, 2012 @ 1:41pm

    Free internet you say?

    Wanna free Internet? Don't relay on any legislation - form a group of technical experts and try to think of ways how to make Internet even more decentralized, with transparent end-to-end encryption, no single point of failure, no single address to block, no single server to seize... total cloud.
  • Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Appropriation?

    IMO there is a fallacy - you ignore the difference between word apple and 'Apple computers' brand. Apple computers brand did not exist before Apple created it. And it's much more specific than just some color... or at least should be (specific Apple logotype, not just any apple etc).

    The fact that Apple seems to go after any company that just uses any apple is a different thing and I consider it disgusting legal bullying based on power of money, not power of justice and law.
  • Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 2:53am

    Re: Re: Appropriation?

    IMO smaller robbery is still robbery. The color is not anything created by Cadbury, it's 'public good' an anyone should be able to use if for whatever they like... including candy, chocolate and foodstuff. What gives Cadbury any right to exclude me from using that color on my candy? What is this supposed right based on?

    The fact that Cadbury is 'trying to protect its interest' is not sufficient justification at all... because so does the robber. The fact they want to protect their interest does not mean they have any right to do so.

    Do you think anyone should be able to claim ownership over any public good they did not create and exclude others from using it just because they want to? Can you imagine how would society like that work?
  • Nov 22nd, 2011 @ 5:10pm


    What is the opposite of expropriation - is appropriation the correct English term? Because that's exactly what this is - they take something that belongs to everybody - purple color - and give it to some private party.

    I grew up in communist country where they confiscated private property and gave it to 'the people' (read 'communists and their minions') and now I have to watch how so called intellectual property is used to rob us from right to use common shared things like colors (trademark) or ideas (obvious or general patents).

    I understand that people can protect something they've created - brand (trademark) or invention based on expensive research (patents) - but how can anyone dare to claim ownership over something like color? They cannot say that they created the color... they are just taking something that was already here for everybody to use, public good... and stealing it from us... maybe legally but certainly not rightfully.

    That's what I call chutzpah.
  • Oct 27th, 2011 @ 9:30am

    Non-US payment processor?

    When I see proposals like this I think the secure strategy for any on-line business is to avoid US-based payment processors. But VISA, MasterCard, PayPal... they are all US-controlled. Any tips on non-US payment processor for a non-US business?
  • Oct 27th, 2011 @ 8:47am

    Non-US payment procesing provider?

    It seems to me that with proposals like that the right strategic decision for any non-US innovative business would be to not rely on any US-controlled payment processing provider. But Visa, MasterCard, PayPal... they are all US controlled. What else is there?
  • Oct 19th, 2011 @ 11:48am


    I keep thinking about that Mike's recent article about different treatment for law-breaking depending on whether or not nou have power ( http://goo.gl/rVs7h ).

    Now I see that everywhere - draconian punishments for us low-lifes and slap on the wrist for our corporate masters. You share 31 songs and you are financially ruined for the rest of your life. They try to stole your money... and what happens when they are caught? Nothing... they just happily keep trying.

    I am starting to thing there is something about that "we are 99%" thing. Something really needs to be changed - now!
  • Sep 24th, 2011 @ 12:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Huh?

    The court. I don't know how exactly the US law system works but I would expect that any system able of sending people to prison must also meet certain criteria to ensure that such power is not abused - having to prove that the defendant has been informed about the court and has been given a fair chance to defend himself would then be one of those criterion.

More comments from Jan Bilek >>

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