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Roger Strong

About Roger Strong Techdirt Insider

Programmer in Winnipeg, Canada.

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  • May 21, 2018 @ 02:17pm


    You will be associated with other people. […] they'll do a simple database search: "Show us anyone seen near this guy multiple times."
    Speak of the devil. In today's news....
    Next year, high schools in Lockport New York will use the "Aegis" CCTV and facial recognition system to track and record the interactions of students suspected of code of conduct violations, keeping a ledger of who speaks to whom, where, and for how long. The record will be used to assemble evidence against students and identify possible accomplices to ascribe guilt to.

  • May 21, 2018 @ 04:49am

    Are we comfortable with a society where the government can find anyone, at any time, by continuously scanning the faces of people on the sidewalk?

    It won't just be government. There's a growing industry of private companies with networks of license plate readers selling data to insurance companies, law enforcement, corporate investigators, etc.. You can be sure they'll branch into face recognition. Your purchase, social media and cell phone tower history is already for sale.

    All those licence plate reader and facial recognition sightings are going into a database. Any face not tied to an real identity can be given a unique ID, tying all sightings of that face together. To be associated with a real identity later on.

    So the government won't just know where you are; they'll know where you've been. They can tail you retroactively. Even if you weren't on the radar, once they add your photo to the database, it'll be connected to one of those previously anonymous unique IDs. You license plate will already have a long geolocation history. They'll get a complete dossier on you from the commercial databases.

    But here's where it gets really ugly...

    You will be associated with other people. When some nutjob does a terrorist attack and police build their instant dossier on him, they'll want to know who he's associated with. So they'll do a simple database search: "Show us anyone seen near this guy multiple times."

    If you live in the same neighborhood, that may be you. If you're in the same minority ethnic circles, that's more likely to be you. If you both commute on the same bus every morning, that will be you. Confirmation bias kicks in. Good luck getting on an airplane after that.

  • May 18, 2018 @ 02:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Eternal Copyright

    Copyright isn't there to make sure the artist can make as much money as possible or to support their family after their deaths. Copyright is merely supposed to give you an incentive to create.
    You don't see the connection? For someone with a family - or who plans to have one - meaning most people - the ability to support them IS copyright's incentive to create.
    That's more of a problem with the publishing industry than a problem with copyright.
    It's not a problem; it's just reality. There's no reason to expect that any movie based on your book would happen in the first year.

  • May 18, 2018 @ 02:50pm

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

    Clearing one's browser cache is a basic privacy protection. I have my browsers set to clear the cache, passwords etc. automatically when I exit.

    Likewise crooks snooping on public hotel Wi-Fi is a legitimate concern. Having a laptop stolen while travelling is a legitimate concern. Smart phones are targeted too. And so occasionally wiping non-essential information is again a basic protection.

    Even minimizing your contact list protects your contacts against malware - or email services and social media networks - that like to vacuum them up.

    You're not destroying data to obstruct any government function, as Sarbanes-Oxley requires. You're doing it as routine common-sense computer security.

  • May 18, 2018 @ 08:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sarbanes-Oxley applies if you know you're under investigation. Until someone tells you that your phone has been selected for an intrusive device search - random or otherwise - I don't see that Sarbanes-Oxley should stop you from wiping it.

    And of course it wouldn't apply to a non-American wiping their phone before entering the country.

  • May 18, 2018 @ 08:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Eternal Copyright

    a) As I wrote in the same post: Having said that, there should be reasonable limits on copyright. Life of the author plus 70 years plus 20-year extensions is ridiculous. b) A worker's paychecks don't continue after death. But a worker's retirement plan - whether home ownership, a pension plan, investments, building a successful business or something else - DOES continue to protect his family after death. There's no reason why royalties - within reasonable limits - shouldn't do the same.

  • May 18, 2018 @ 07:57am

    Re: Re: Quick and correct action.

    The relevant information wasn't available at that point.

    (The relevant information being that that Luong would publicize the threats.)

  • May 18, 2018 @ 01:59pm

    Earlier this month, in Washington DC there was the Content Moderation at Scale "COMO" conference.

    This sounds to me like a close approximation of hell.

    "No censorship. At all. No matter what."


    "Blockchain. We must use blockchain. You've got to have blockchain."

    "Only natural persons may...."

    "Lockheed Martin has a proven drone strike based solution."

    "Outsource moderation to China."

    "Our AI product can already do it."


  • May 18, 2018 @ 07:53am

    Thanks to data usage caps this will only be relevant in the form of overage charges, by accident or from rogue apps.

    Granted, that's probably the real motivation for carriers adopting 5G.

  • May 17, 2018 @ 02:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Our (US) problem is stories like totally fake "Trump-Russia collusion",

    Sure, previous Presidents or their associates have had questionable interactions. But not like this. Not on this scale. This is not business as usual.

    Those "questionable interactions" in the past, they've been investigated and sometimes even prosecuted. The only thing different here is the scale and brazenness of the "questionable interactions."

  • May 17, 2018 @ 02:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Eternal Copyright

    Copyright isn't a retirement plan. It's not a pension.
    Sure it is. (With reasonable limits. More reasonable than now.) The author has invested sweat equity in creating it.
    You take that money you earn off copyright and put it into a retirement plan for your family, or build your house with it, but saying it should belong to your heirs the same way a house does is damaging to culture (read the above article) and denying it to the rest of the world.
    If you finally have a bestseller but die soon after, you wouldn't get those benefits to invest to protect your family. It's not like earning a regular salary where you can invest or pay into a retirement fund a bit each paycheque. Even on a bestseller, some of those royalties may not arrive until a decade or more later. Like royalties on movie rights. Or book adaptation rights. (It's common now for movies to arrive with freshly-written book adaptations, even when the movie was based on a book. I could go SO far off-topic on this...)

  • May 17, 2018 @ 01:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    While the concept of copyright originated in England
    Modern copyright law may start there, but the concept was around much earlier. Wikipedia: Battle of Cúl Dreimhne 3,000 casualties. Fought over copyright law in Ireland somewhere between 555 AD and 561 AD. Really. The copyright offender was later made a saint. But that was over converting the Picts to Christianity by vanquishing a monster in the River Ness. (That's right, the Loch Ness Monster is part of Christianity.) So pirates probably can't claim holy backing.

  • May 17, 2018 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Our (US) problem is stories like totally fake "Trump-Russia collusion",

    Same old lies, same old response: Wikipedia: Links between Trump associates and Russian officials 135 citations. Wikipedia: Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections 449 citations. Wikipedia: Timeline of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections 1111 citations. An election or two from now you'll be here denying that Trump ever existed, or that links between Trump and the Republican Party ever existed.

  • May 17, 2018 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Eternal Copyright

    In your house scenario you're using YOUR materials. YOUR sweat equity. Not someone else's (the authors's.) Likewise your bookstore is competition, but it's not built off someone else's work.

    The original reasoning behind copyright is sound: It encourages new works for the good of all. Of course it had shorter, more reasonable copyright terms.

  • May 17, 2018 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Eternal Copyright

    Retirement monies are monies you already earned. Post-mortem royalties are monies you would have earned if you were still alive, but are no longer able to earn because you are dead.
    Most retirement plans you've built up or paid into over the years - whether home ownership, a pension plan, investments, building a successful business etc. - don't disappear when you die. You earned them and your family benefits from them, as you say, post-mortem. It's one of the big motivators for savings and investment. There's still no difference between your two cases.

  • May 17, 2018 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Eternal Copyright

    In very few cases will one book's royalties cover your retirement. Just like one payment (or one year's payments) won't cover retirement either.

    For writing it takes a body of work over decades, just like you pay into a retirement plan for decades.

  • May 17, 2018 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Eternal Copyright

    In the second case, you earned the retirement monies and deserve to distribute them however you see fit. In the case of copyright, your family would be earning money for work they did not do and success they did not earn.
    You haven't shown how these are different.

  • May 17, 2018 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Eternal Copyright

    Fair enough. How about "Any retirement plan you've built up or paid into over the years." Whether it's home ownership, a pension plan, investments, building a successful business etc.

  • May 17, 2018 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Eternal Copyright

    Nonsense. If I build a house for my family and take other steps to ensure their well-being after I die, that home ownership is not "welfare." Collecting the retirement plan I paid into for decades isn't "welfare" just because they personally didn't earn it.

    Again, I favor reasonable limits on copyright. Something much less than life plus 70 years plus 20-year extensions. Rather than replacing one extreme with another.

  • May 17, 2018 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Eternal Copyright

    The family gets the benefits of owning that house. It's cheaper than rent, even before the mortgage is paid off.

    Likewise, they get the benefit of copyright via royalties. Take that away and allow unlimited digital copying, and they lose that benefit.

    I'm arguing that copyright terms should be reasonable. You're arguing for replacing one extreme with the other.

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