Andrew Cook’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Aug 23rd, 2019 @ 7:23am

    (untitled comment)

    W3W doesn't even have a monopoly. There's a competing service, What 3 F***s, that works just as well, has a much more appropriate vocabulary for emergencies, has a fractal pattern so you can choose an arbitrary level of precision, and is open source so people can expand and innovate.

  • May 23rd, 2018 @ 5:14am

    (untitled comment)

    I might know how they came up with such a large number for so few still-possessed devices. Let's tweak the premise slightly and then fill in some of the blanks...

    "Last year, the FBI was unable to [immediately] access investigation-related content on more than 7,700 devices..." ... but they obtained access to the iCloud/Google Drive accounts and the backups just came through. ... but the suspect used the same PIN on a less secure device. ... but they convinced her she'd get a reduced sentence if she told them the password. ... but they got the data from a co-conspirator's device. ... but the data they were interested in they got from $telco instead. ... but it wasn't actually* an FBI investigation; they were just holding a device for the local police. * ... but Harris just came out with a new cracking device and it's super awesome* but they can't tell you about it :shh:.

  • Aug 7th, 2017 @ 8:59am

    Reading Comprehension

    Judge Chhabria also disputed Comcast's claim that users technically agree to pay these fees by agreeing to the Comcast subscriber agreement, which only references "permitted fees and cost recovery charges," and not these additional surcharges Comcast appears to have hallucinated out of whole cloth:

    That's not what the judge said, only that this isn't the right time to deal with those issues.

    • Motion to Dismiss: The case needs to go away because there is something procedurally or facially wrong with it. ← The judge is ruling here.
    • Motion for Summary Judgement: The case needs to go away because even if what the other guy says is 100% true I'm still okay. ← The judge said that whether the plaintiffs agreed to the contract should be determined here.
    • Judgement on Merits: The case needs to go away because I'm right and the other guy's wrong. ← The judge implied that whether the contract lets Comcast pile on the charges should be determined here.

    I would really, really love for a judge to rule that those fees are barred, since that would open the door to all sorts of legal fun for them, but that's not what Judge Chhabria ruled yet. We'll just have to keep waiting.

  • Jun 14th, 2017 @ 4:51am

    Re: A cheap pass on an easy case

    And Justice Thomas murdered five and a half pages saying that that's what he would say if he could. Sadly, he realized he couldn't:

    Unfortunately, petitioner raises her due process arguments for the first time in this Court. As a result, the Texas Court of Appeals lacked the opportunity to address them in the first instance.

    The court can't rule on appeal on issues that no prior court has addressed, so they have to wait until another case makes it way up to them, one that argues this from the start.

  • May 25th, 2017 @ 4:45am

    (untitled comment) (as Anonymous Coward)

    > But as is often the case when trade agreements are used to expand copyright law, the agreement only exported the U.S.’ extreme criminal penalties; it didn’t export our broad fair use provisions.

    Don't worry, it's a *trade* agreement. We've been exporting our extreme criminal penalties, so soon we'll be *importing* restrictions on fair use. The USTR will be ecstatic about having that kind of balance...

  • Apr 21st, 2017 @ 5:32am

    (untitled comment)

    Antitrust didn't seem to be an issue back in 2002, when Netscape implemented popup ad blocking but exempted their own sites, including (hilariously) their own homepage.

  • Feb 22nd, 2017 @ 5:16am

    (untitled comment)

    Let's look at what the media companies are giving up by making this request:

    • Google News/Bing News links
    • "Smart snippets" in organic Google/Bing/Yahoo searches
    • Twitter/Facebook cards
    • Skype/iMessage cards
    • Cortana/Siri/Google Now integration
    • Link previews in GMail/ Mail
    • Pretty much everything else that uses the Open Graph metadata they enthusiastically provide

    In short, everything that makes people want to click the link, or helps them discover that those articles exist. I wonder how they'll feel when they have to tell their advertisers that "social media engagement" is down 80-90%...

  • Jul 29th, 2016 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Forget the monkey

    Send in the clowns.
    Already done. It's in the Ninth Circus, after all.

  • Jul 6th, 2016 @ 4:43am

    (untitled comment)

    ... every single one of the 4,148 federal wiretap requests was granted in 2015.

    The picture is just as bleak when you look at the whole decade + 1. Out of 30,694 warrants, only 8 were denied. That's less than ¾ of a warrant per year, or about 0.02 percent.

  • Jun 3rd, 2016 @ 4:38am

    (untitled comment)

    And that someone will likely not be found, as the State Department appears to be uninterested in investigating this any further.

    If the only evidence is a sticky note saying "plz cut per b(6)", how can they investigate that? At least they're going to try to be more accountable in the future, or so they say.

  • Sep 28th, 2015 @ 8:48am

    Re: (as TwelveBaud)

    What Rightscorp did at their own computers has zero bearing on the DMCA notices that Cox stupidly ignored.
    First, Cox wasn't stupid to ignore them. Would you spew wrong, legally-threatening garbage to your customers just because some moron with dollar signs in his eyes says so?

    Second, it's very relevant to the case at hand. Or have you forgotten about the unclean hands doctrine?

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 9:18am

    (untitled comment) (as TwelveBaud)

    you can head here to comment on the NPRM at the FCC website. You can also file a comment in the Federal Register, but need to do so before midnight, September 8.
    Umm, no, you can't. By some mysterious coincidence, the FCC has taken their docketing, comment filing, et cetera, Web apps offline until 8AM, September 8.

    Oh, and while I have you here...
    Our rules do permit radios to be approved as Software Defined Radios (SDRs) where the compliance is ensured based on having secure software which cannot be modified. The (FCC's) position is that versions of this open source software can be used as long as they do not add the functionality to modify the underlying operating characteristics of the RF parameters.
    It looks like that statement says they're cool with things like OpenBTS and Osmocom, which use software-defined radios to emulate cell towers, and other similar projects. But most consumer-grade WiFi base stations aren't commonly considered software-defined radios and aren't submitted for approval under SDR rules.

  • May 6th, 2015 @ 6:19pm

    (untitled comment) (as TwelveBaud)

    As long as it's not psychomotor epilepsy and the surgery isn't in the Neuro-Psychiatric Service of University Hospital...

  • Apr 3rd, 2015 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Re: (as TwelveBaud)

    > The court could simply order them to not use a camera-enabled phone for a number of months, which is no different to what most parents would do.

    No, the court couldn't. If the charges are sustained, they're a Class X felony, comparable with murder. The absolute minimum even a juvenile court could give is five years probation, plus lifetime sex offender registration -- including the parts about "no contact with anyone under 18" (goodbye school, friends, maybe even family!) and "no residing close to (a number of different places)" (hello apartment in the middle of nowhere!)

  • Mar 2nd, 2015 @ 7:56am

    SHA-1 (as TwelveBaud)

    It's time to ask CloudFlare to rekey your SSL certificate. Your private key uses the SHA-1 algorithm which, though not insecure yet, is on a steep deprecation path. Last October Chrome started marking such sites with a yellow alert symbol (similar to that used when loading JS from an insecure site), and in February Firefox followed suit. The cert is set to expire on Oct 15, which -- even if it wasn't expiring -- is the last day Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Opera would connect at all, with IE blocking access the following year.

    New certificates use SHA-2, which is based on a similar algorithm but uses much longer key fingerprints, and is therefore much harder to break.

  • Dec 30th, 2014 @ 4:32am

    (untitled comment) (as TwelveBaud)

    Didn't they learn their lesson when they did this with Dungeon Keeper (

    Oh wait, I'm silly! EA doesn't learn!

  • Oct 30th, 2014 @ 4:32am

    (untitled comment) (as TwelveBaud)

    Patent 8,951,662: A System and Method for Producing a Distinctive Pizza, Calzone, or other Bread and Tomato Sauce Product Flavor.

  • Oct 20th, 2014 @ 5:48am

    (untitled comment) (as TwelveBaud)

    From page 5:

    Piracy often arises when consumer demand goes unmet from legitimate supply. As services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated, the best way to combat piracy is with better and more convenient legitimate services. The right combination of price, convenience, and inventory will do far more to reduce piracy than enforcement can.
    Hmm, where have I heard that before? 😉

  • Oct 1st, 2014 @ 10:03am

    (untitled comment) (as TwelveBaud)

    I think I'm going to go play Steel Battalion. A game with a dedicated switch for windshield wipers, and that erases your save if you don't push the dedicated -- and shielded -- Eject button in time.

  • Sep 15th, 2014 @ 9:09am

    (untitled comment) (as TwelveBaud)

    (Correction to my earlier comment: Tatel wrote the opinion of the court, Silberman wrote the concurrence/dissent.)

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