takitus’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Sep 13th, 2019 @ 5:10pm

    Focus on the inefficiency and lying

    Most people are going to read this story and emphasize the "government employees watching porn!" aspect, but I'm not sure why the content they were wasting time on is important. How is this fundamentally different than, say, spending working hours on Facebook or reddit? Similar observations go for all forms of "safe for work" censorship, which seem to mainly be an outlet for moralizing, rather than serious attempts to curb time-wasting.

    Hopefully Techdirt readers (and writers) agree that what's important here isn't the juicy content, but the inefficiency and bureaucratic wagon-circling done to hide it.

  • Aug 3rd, 2019 @ 10:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's not just Literature.

    Cory Doctorow at the very, very least offers versions of his books with sharable licenses and refuses to have anything published that has DRM in it.

    I stand corrected. I knew he refused to allow DRM'd versions, but I recall seeing a few all-rights-reserved copies of his novels. Good to hear that he offers an alternative.

  • Aug 3rd, 2019 @ 10:27am

    Re: It's not just Literature.

    It's worth pointing out that Futurama, like many, many other media that make fun of copyright maximalism, is itself all-rights-reserved, copyrighted material. The same goes for the books mentioned by Doctorow's post: despite the jokes, the authors (including Doctorow) still allowed their books to be published under the standard restrictive copyright terms of the publishing industry.

    While inserting pranks in copyright statements is funny, it does nothing to fix the problem. If the author isn't making every effort to publish their work under open licenses, it's smug posturing.

  • Jul 23rd, 2019 @ 10:54am

    Re: Clichés

    ... makes me wonder if you have any kids of your own. Because... seriously?

    Ah, such a valuable observation! The reasoning of the article is immediately demolished by this challenge.

    But in the real world, things are a lot more complicated...

    Again! The richness and freshness of these insights!

    I for one am very happy that parental monitoring tools exist. Without them, we very easily might not have found out that...

    A bad thing might have happened, anecdotally! It was stopped by parental monitoring--we claim! Although the commenter makes no argument as to why this justifies the extreme parental surveillance detailed by Mike, clearly it is so justified--things like this anecdote might almost happen again! And Life360, et al, will, uh, stop that!

    The next time I wonder whether the occasional crime justifies facial recognition, location data sharing, or worldwide dragnet signals collection, I'll recall the overwhelming argument made above--surveillance, generally speaking, is a good thing, since bad things might happen otherwise. It might not sound like much, but since it's from a parent, it must have deep wisdom that I can’t fully fathom.

  • Jun 20th, 2019 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I no longer agree with you on this

    Here's the question: how does society benefit from letting people run around spreading hate? Is there any benefit at all?

    This is not ‘the question’. It is a deliberately one-sided rhetorical framing of the issue of censorship, and your comment amounts to a content-free endorsement of broad censorship.

    In this case, the person being censored is repellent and was sharing this material for repellent reasons, so it's easy to think there is no downside to punishing him. But how does this affect people who post “terrorist material” for the historical record? And does it create an abusable precedent for persecuting anyone who posts “offensive” content? Pretending that the answer is “obviously not” is extremely myopic--consider China’s treatment of any material related to the Tiananmen Square massacre.

    You bluster and frame the issue in black-and-white: It's about stopping people from “spreading hate” (Popehat's Trope One). You ignore the difficult-in-general questions of defining “hateful” content, evaluating the speaker's reasons for posting the content, etc., and deceptively pretend these problems don't exist.

    People who have no interest in “spreading hate” have suffered and continue at this moment to suffer under laws purporting to protect people from “dangerous” content. You ignore this--which is abhorrent--and have the gall to ask “why shouldn't we censor?”

  • Jun 19th, 2019 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: I no longer agree with you on this

    I'm not promoting terrorism. There's a world of difference. The slope isn't that slippery.

    Ah, it's fortunate that we're dealing with such a clearly-defined, black-and-white accusation like "promoting terrorism". It's incredibly unlikely that a charge like that would ever be excessively extended or used against politically-unpopular people. /s

  • Nov 30th, 2018 @ 11:29am

    Ecosystem metaphors and unpleasant speech

    A second complaint from users may derive from data collection … it may affect the kind of content she encounters, which … may serve … to "radicalize" her, anger her, or otherwise disturb her.

    This is the complaint about data collection? Not the use of collected data (possibly from private communications) to profile speakers, and the dissemination of that data to domestic and foreign governments? The chilling effect created by the nowhere-to-hide paradigm of mass data collection is a major threat to speech and should be far more disturbing than chance exposure to unpleasant content.

    But this exaggerated emphasis on “bad speech” leads me to question the drift of “ecosystem” metaphors. When concerns about the emotional impact of speech are raised to the same level of importance as government censorship, the “ecosystem” language makes it far too easy to argue for the suppression of unpleasant speech—after all, if speech is an ecosystem, shouldn’t “harmful” and “viral” elements be excluded from our habitat?

    While I agree that the binary government ⇔ citizen model is too simple, we should be wary of biological metaphors that (among other things) suggest it’s reasonable to suppress upsetting speech. Our traditional, simplistic model nevertheless includes a commitment to the belief that, while we should all enjoy free speech, free speech is not always enjoyable, and that intellectual maturity is essential to living in a free society. Any “ecosystem” model that lacks such a commitment is, IMHO, doomed to be abused by the powerful and hypersensitive.

  • Nov 20th, 2018 @ 12:35pm


    Thank GOD this website is speaking up for the big guy.

    And you, John Smith, since apparently you have the freedom to comment here, um, on the Internet.

    The internet is a PURGE where normal laws don't apply, where people have no right to defend their reputation, or their copyright

    (1) “Normal” law applies to the Internet—try committing fraud and see how far “I used a network connection to do it!” gets you as a defense. (2) See 1, libel laws are frequently used to remove content from the Internet. (3) Ever hear of content being taking down following a copyright claim? I know, it happens so infrequently…

    Perhaps in your next comment you might try to respond to the article rather than spewing frequently-debunked talking points.

  • Nov 20th, 2018 @ 12:17pm


    After a valiant struggle, Mason Wheeler tackles his strawman, Future of Freedom style.

    The Tahrir Square protests and the subsequent Arab Spring were absolutely an “upsurge in democracy”, regardless of whether you approve of the governments that these movements elected.

  • Nov 9th, 2018 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: 9 strikes

    >Like only sending those notices to the @ISP email everyone gets when they signup for internet, but few actually check…


  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 3:15pm

    Re: The Internet isn't everything, nor the only thing

    Indeed. Tech policy was clearly a very low priority for most candidates in the recent election. Case in point: After pestering the leading House candidate in my district for something approaching an Internet policy, I received a sentence about “<J. Random Candidate> believes strongly in modernizing our nation’s military to deal with emerging cyber threats.”

    Techdirt complains rightly that the US Congress is embarassingly (or conveniently) ignorant on most tech issues. But how can the situation be improved when most candidates clearly don’t see any political advantage in knowing, well, anything about these subjects?

  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 6:06am


    I mean, if you do a bare minimum glance at gaming groups you will find more than their fair share led by people that have some extreme right wing views.

    [citation needed]

  • Oct 25th, 2018 @ 10:37pm

    Not censoring the public

    It seems that many commentators had some difficulty understanding this article. The UK government is not banning British citizens from using the phrase, but only its own members. Since governments—including, as Tim points out, some of the worst regimes on the planet—have been the worst abusers of the term “fake news”, this is indeed a good move.

    Stopping government officials from muddying the waters with garbage phrases like this is, I think, a net positive for free speech. Consider the (first) US Red Scare: if the McCarthy-era government had required officials to use the word “communist” to refer to those and only those people proved to members of the Communist party, would things have been a bit more sane? Quite possibly.

  • Oct 11th, 2018 @ 6:17pm

    More of this, please

    On some issues, some elected officials do try to get things right and serve the people they represent. It's unfortunate that this bill will probably die, but, if it is killed, there will have been at least one congressperson who wasn't pandering to election sponsors.

    Rather than trying to win internet points with witty comments about corruption, we should encourage this kind of behavior from representatives.

  • Sep 27th, 2018 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Re:

    I'd be happy to be proven incorrect if you can provide a citation or two.

    The previous post did provide a citation, which it seems that you did not bother to read:


    Even Facebook has been forced to acknowledge that this policy has put users in real danger.

    In my mind, the likely scenarios (barring police surveillance) are a) getting caught posting something you probably should have known not to say with your real name attached (e.g. posting negative shit about your boss and getting fired) or b) being one of the people who really does need anonymity because you post about controversial things.

    This is extremely narrow-minded. Depending on the country, LGBT people, atheists, activists and those exercising basic free speech rights in criticizing their governments or institutions are regularly targeted for expressing themselves on the Internet. In these places, anonymity is very much a life-or-death issue. It should not be necessary to remind anyone on here of this.

    why were you on FB in the first place? Why not Twitter or Instagram or any other social media platform that doesn't have this rule?

    The existence of less invasive alternatives does not justify a harmful and unnecessary policy.

  • Sep 27th, 2018 @ 2:49pm

    (untitled comment)


    People like breaking rules and a handful of moderators per millions of users can't really keep up. We expect this kind of juvenile bullshit from average jerks like you and me, but shouldn't we be expecting more from our public servants?

    I understand that this is tongue-in-cheek, but it’s a poor choice of phrasing. It probably goes without saying here on Techdirt, but creating an pseudonymous account isn’t “juvenile bullshit”, it’s sometimes a life-or-death decision. Facebook’s real-name policy is extremely dangerous and has already caused harm to users. As gratifying as it is to see people get caught abusing the service for surveillance, it should be 100% clear that this policy is unacceptable.

  • Sep 25th, 2018 @ 8:37pm

    Re: First big test, and you suddenly don't like legalisms.


    I’ve finally figured it out. Your peculiar grammar betrays you as Dr. Bronner’s demented brother. Is it possible to order some of your MAGIC Common Law UNMODERATED “Soap” directly?

  • Sep 25th, 2018 @ 8:29pm

    The problem with vague laws

    A perfectly satisfactory ruling: “None of you are doing anything wrong under this law, so relax. In fact, it’s such a clear law that no one could even reasonably accuse you of doing anything wrong! Why are you even here, let’s get a sandwich.”

    And tomorrow some other court will rule the other way entirely.

    As a side note, did the ex post facto aspect of FOSTA not lift any eyebrows?

  • Sep 17th, 2018 @ 5:48pm

    Re: region licenses

    Does Apple state that “purchases” made through iTunes are in fact rentals, and that access to content depends on you paying a new license fee each time you move?

    No? In that case, they must claw the license fee out of their own funds.

    If they’re unhappy with a copyright system that creatues these situations, it behooves them to throw their massive weight behind reform, rather than passing the pain on to their customers.

  • Aug 28th, 2018 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re:

    If the John Cage Estate starts enforcing their copyrights, we’re all totally screwed.

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