robertkb64's Techdirt Profile


About robertkb64

robertkb64's Comments comment rss

  • Oct 02, 2019 @ 01:04pm

    The wrong problem

    People keep talking about this like it’s a lack of access problem - its not.

    Google, Internet Archive, or even Webo would assuredly do all of the technical work for free (just think about the data mining that could come of it), including writing the APIs and installing them on each court system so that when something is eFiled it automatically gets pushed to them.

    The problem isn’t doing that, it’s that if it happened the cartels in power would lose some of their power, and some of their money, and empire builders always want to keep building their empires. That’s why they get into the racket in the first place.

  • Aug 16, 2019 @ 09:13am

    Re: better version of loser pays

    A better way to do it is to return to a three verdict system like some of the colonies had, but with added meaning for the prosecuting entity. Guilty: same as now Not Proven: same effect as not guilty, but all prosecution expenses (including police investigations) are payable to the defense to ensure that the citizen is on even footing with the government, otherwise a dedicated prosecutor can just paper you to death like in civil litigation. Not Guilty: Prosecution pays ALL defense expenses, including lost wages, costs to recover credit rating, etc. This model negates the incentive to prosecute edge cases, as any failure to convict gets paid by the prosecutor, and if the jury thinks they’re totally wrong they get hit with effective damage awards.

  • Aug 16, 2019 @ 09:04am

    Why the bigotry, Tim?

    Why the bigotry, Tim?

    Your own article indicates that his nice treatment was because he was recognized by one of the cops, not because he’s a “white male.”

    Do you really think Michael Jordan wouldn’t get similar treatment? Or are you just trying to signal your moral superiority?

    The problem with color in police encounters isn’t black vs white, it’s blue vs non-blue, and anyone who’s researched the issue knows it.

  • Aug 12, 2019 @ 05:38pm


    “trying to cure it through censorship; is like curing an ingrown toenail with amputation”

    Just for fun: for people with repeated ingrown toenails, the treatment really is a partial amputation and killing of the nailbed to prevent regrowth.

    Just saying selective amputation sometimes really is the answer.

  • Jul 26, 2019 @ 03:37pm

    Re: Re: Wrong Point

    There are campaign contribution limits, this would count as a “in kind” donation potentially, not sure how (or even if) anti-one person, but I don’t care who else wins would work for that. The rest is social/political - from the right wing commentators I’ve seen, as well as from the YouTube Union, it’s not so much the support or hindrance, but the dishonesty in it. For example, if you go to a car dealer who advertises that they sell at cost and only make their profits from service you’d feel pretty good about working with them. But if you later learned they were lying about that, even if it wasn’t fraudulent under the law, you’d be pretty pissed. As I understand the Right, it’s the dishonesty that particularly galling, with tech companies as well as the media. They all proclaim themselves neutral, when in practice they aren’t - they’re American left establishment, just like the DNC was when they cheated Bernie’s nomination in 2016. Or at least that’s their view. If anyone here is an actual American conservative who can correct that, feel free.

  • Jul 26, 2019 @ 02:27pm

    Wrong Point

    This article seems to be missing her underlying point (ignoring many of the details, which Mike as usual gets right).

    Her point, as I read it, is that Google is acting out of malice, not out of incompetence. And to show that, she explains that Google lied about why it took the actions that it did. Under her own reasoning, if Google had told the truth as Mike sees it (and which I think is likely at least most of the truth) that they'd simply screwed up because in their experience changes in advertising patterns like they saw with her account were often caused by fraud, and so they've trained their models to find similar actions and prevent fraud, even though they know that sometimes they'll have a false positive, simply because getting it right most of the time (with a few false positives) is better than letting the majority of false negatives get through.

    Her claim, then, is that this defense must not be true, because if it were, Google could have simply said so in the beginning. Since they said otherwise, their claim now is preempted by their prior defense.

    Of course, what I think is just that Google screwed up in the initial trigger, and then BS'd their excuse, not expecting to have to substantiate it. I don't think it was intentionally told to mislead, but rather to just make her go away, because that's what Google usually does, and they almost always get away with it, so they've had no reason to learn otherwise.

    Of course, we also need to consider the alternative, even if we choose to discard it: if Google really were trying to support the established American Left, but trying to do so surreptitiously, would it look any different than what Gabbard and many conservatives claim? If you think this is how it would look, how do you tell them apart?

    Of course, what Google could do is publicly state that their anti-fraud (and similar) services are tuned to minimize the targeted event without massive false positives, rather than to catch whatever they can while minimizing false positives Google has made the decision that in their business it's better that some innocent people go to jail than let a guilty person go free, which our justice system is (at least theoretically) aligned the opposite way: that it's better that 10 guilty men go free than an innocent be imprisoned. We'd all be a lot better off if we (you, me, Google, candidates, the government) were open about where we each stand on this, as it can vary from topic to topic.

  • Jul 26, 2019 @ 02:07pm

    Selection Bias

    Hoping someones seen a study, but do we know which way the abuse causation runs?

    a) Bad people want to be cops because it gives them more power
    b) Dealing with the worst side of humanity makes people go bad

    If it's (b), then who we hire won't really matter, since even the best will go bad. If it's (a), then it's just a matter of hiring the right people (which is hard itself).

    Pretty sure it's actually a complicated answer, but has anyone seen a study showing what the split is?

  • Jul 19, 2019 @ 05:41am

    Re: See Insulin...

    Insulin prices are largely driven by bad regulations (at least since 2010), so yes, things have changed. What happened is that Congress passed a law about how to regulate biologics (including insulin), and during the Obama administration the FDA stated in rule making that any insulin application outstanding on the effective date of 1/1/2020 would be summarily denied, and the applicant would have to start over. So the 3 current worldwide manufacturers all know that their competition has been locked out by the government for a decade, and raised prices accordingly. Are they scum? You bet. Were they directly aided by the government, likely for improper reasons? I sure think so, even if the actual reason was FDA laziness. I hope at least someone got paid off - I’d rather it was greed than sloth, and the world needs more Ferrari’s.

  • Jul 19, 2019 @ 05:04am

    Safest place in London

    According to the Met, 999 of 1000 are correctly identified, and if 19% of the 1/1000 are correctly identified as criminals then there are only 19 criminals per 100,000 people, which is easily the lowest rate in London, let alone in the world.

    Great job, London Metropolitan Police, you’ve shown you have the safest jurisdiction and must not need this fancy tech.

  • Jul 17, 2019 @ 08:00am

    What do you mean Apple doesn’t have 5g?

    What do you mean Apple doesn’t have 5g? My iPhone has said it’s been on 5g for months now. Must have been some kind of OTA update from those nice folks as ATT. I wish you’d stop pushing this fake news.

  • Jul 16, 2019 @ 08:47pm

    Not just patents

    A large part of this isn’t just the patents, but also downstream liability for later complications. Paracetamol (Tylenol) IV is safer than other routes because it bypasses first pass metabolism, but unlike opiates there’s also a ceiling effect.

    If you have a patient with severe pain, you can start with low dose morphine and just keep titrating up until the patient gets enough relief. You can’t do that with paracetamol, so for a patient for whom you think it won’t be enough, you just start with morphine.

    Where this gets more interesting is that there are drugs that cause neither addiction nor dependence, and are much stronger than anything other than an opiate, but that have their own potentially negative effects. Toradol is a commonly used example of that, but which can fry your liver if used too frequently (and the “too frequently” dose is pretty close to the effective dose).

    So from a hospitals perspective, the real driver is ease of administration. You can give a mix of many different drugs to optimize effect, or you can use only OTC and morphine, which has the benefit of being easy to administer, easy to monitor, and cheap.

    But if you try to do the best for each patient you’ll inevitably give a patient too much toradol and pay out millions after litigation.

  • Jul 16, 2019 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Contraband -- elephant in the room!

    Right, that’s the problem. Though the only unlawful-in-almost-every-circumstance content I can think of already has that rule, and it doesn’t* seem to be a problem now. Even the DMCA style abuses seem readily solvable: anyone who wants to have their claims have any force have to register their identities, and any false claims after adjudication result in some combination of presumed + actual damages. Congress writing a law appropriately, on the other hand, has almost no chance. *If there’s an actual issue platforms have of someone uploading kitty porn, being told about it, and then instantly being prosecuted because they had actual knowledge of it for a few minutes/hours/days until they removed it, I’ll be unhappy to learn about it.

  • Jul 16, 2019 @ 10:00am

    “In cases where egregiously offensive or patently harmful material can be reliably identified by nonexpert moderators or basic software, and where the risk of false positives can be minimized, a notice of liability could be sent to the online distributor requiring removal of the content. ”

    Anyone have an example of “egregiously offensive or patently harmful material” other than contraband?

    Even something like that I’m quite certain will be used to target content someone dependent like, like the statement (manifesto?) of that idiot in New Zealand that their official idiot (censor) banned anyone from reading.

    Maybe if it was “and platforms can be held liable for not removing contraband (example: kitty* porn) when told exactly where it is”

    *I’m intellectually curious about tech dirts word filters, but not curious enough to test all of the permutations of this.

  • Jul 16, 2019 @ 09:18am

    Walmart is Amazon, but with liability

    Slightly disagreeing with the logic of the ruling, but in support of the purpose of such a ruling.

    Walmart, like Amazon, doesn’t own all of the product it sells off its shelves. But while Amazon does own some of the product, Walmart owns essentially none of it - Walmart always acts as a consignment store, and the manufacturer owns the product, with Walmart taking a cut of the proceeds for providing a storefront, cash handling, marketing, and sales consulting (help set the price).

    If this has been bought from Walmart, everyone agrees they’d be liable. The only difference is that you can walk into a Walmart point of sale warehouse, while Amazon only let’s employees into their point of sale warehouse.

    The underlying point of the ruling is (or should be), that its inherently unfair that two otherwise identically situation businesses face different liability when one allows the inspection of goods before purchase (Walmart), while another refuses to allow a purchaser to inspect those goods (Amazon), and its the one who restricts purchaser information more that gets immunity.

    Otherwise, all Walmart would need to do is change its point of sale devices into web terminals, so that every sale is completed over the internet and their “store” becomes just a self service warehouse. If anyone saw that happening, where a Walmart store refused to sell you something you picked off an aisle, but would provide you the web portal to “buy it online and take home today! No waiting for Amazon Prime, get it now!” They’d immediately see it as a scam to avoid liability.

    That’s (hopefully) what the two judges saw, and were trying to correct.

  • Jul 15, 2019 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Re:

    At least until you’re the second clown who tries it after the first robs the place.

  • Jul 01, 2019 @ 10:43am

    Re: on the menu

    I see where you’re going with this, but I don’t think the analogy holds (or maybe, I misunderstood the facts of the case). The baker was willing to (and had) sold anything on the menu, he was ostensibly sued because he wouldn’t make a custom cake - he would sell a standard cake, which anyone was of course free to use in any way they like. The attempted positioning of the complainants was that he wouldn’t sell them a standard wedding cake - which he wouldn’t sell to anyone, since the only kind of wedding cake he made were custom ones. But the reason he won in the Supreme Court was precisely because it was a sham prosecution - the prosecuting agency had pre-judges the case, and it was this animus that caused his win, regardless of the underlying issue. With that as the background with the agency, I don’t think we can use its actions in a case with a different ideological alignment to tell us anything - because if the real rule is “my guys win” it looks exactly the same as the rule you described. That may be the real reason I don’t find these insightful, they undifferentiable from “my guy wins.” And I hope we all agree that’s a terrible principle. In case you find it useful, my background is libertarian, so I’m pro gay marriage (to the extent the government should be in the business), and pro bigots showing us who they are.

  • Jun 30, 2019 @ 06:51pm


    “One discriminates against a protected class..the other....doesn't.”

    I’ve always had a problem understanding the insight other people seem to see being conveyed here, and I’m hoping people can help me understand it.

    I can see a few things it might mean, but none of them seem very insightful to me:

    “One is a protected class, the other isn’t” is almost tautological: political affiliation is not in any of the protected class statutes, so it’s not a protected class (duh). If the point is that it ought to be a protected class, then I don’t understand how that’s insightful - obviously the people complaining about viewpoints discrimination think it should be protected (plus a few that think it shouldn’t be protected by the government but my social pressure).

    If the point is about inherent attributes versus choice, then I don’t understand it in this context: even if homosexuality is inherent and “conservatism” isn’t (and social science suggests that it’s not actually a choice to a large extent), then the analogy doesn’t fit. The baker was happy to bake cakes for gay couples, had knowingly done so on numerous occasions and intended to do so again, but would only refuse in the specific case of a homosexual wedding - a voluntary act, since no one can inherently get married. The analogy here fits with the act, not the status - he wouldn’t have made a cake for Adam Sandler in Chuck and Larry, for instance.

    I don’t find either of these particularly insightful, so is there something I’m missing?

  • Jun 14, 2019 @ 05:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sacred is the antonym of profane. “... this isn’t profane”
    “So you’re saying it’s sacred?” This comes from old English and the catholic tradition that heavenly things are sacred, and earthly things are profane. “Profanity” is derived from that, as those terms by definition can’t be sacred.

  • May 27, 2019 @ 08:23am

    Re: Re: Reported transports of cash to the IRS Question 13

  • May 24, 2019 @ 08:04am


    Sadly there’s a better correlation: allies of the party in power of the body lied to don’t get prosecuted, or even meaningfully threatened. Clapper lies, same political allegiance, no penalty (and he’s somehow still on TV). McGahn doesn’t show up (so he doesn’t have to lie), and he’s threatened with sanctions - differing party. Gone decades by are the days when a party would censure itself, and I almost miss the days not even a decade gone when no one was ever censured. Remember that no mans life, liberty, or property are safe when the legislature is in session.

More comments from robertkb64 >>