Upstream 's Techdirt Comments

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  • FBI’s Crime Data Collection Still Being Stymied By Major Police Departments Not Reporting Crime Stats

    Upstream ( profile ), 13 Jul, 2022 @ 07:36am

    It's a rare case where someone hides info that makes them look good
    Yeah, if the data made them look good they would be shouting it from the rooftops and putting it on billboards.

  • BMW’s Push To Make Heated Seats A $18 Per Month Subscription Portends A Dumb And Costly Future

    Upstream ( profile ), 13 Jul, 2022 @ 07:22am

    BMW copying Microsoft

    Slogan: “If there was a way we could force you into a monthly subscription for the driveway space your BMW parks on, we would.” Also, isn't disabling or charging for features that you bought and paid for essentially the same as theft, at least morally, if not legally? Just because it is done "with a computer" should not matter. But the solution is simple: people can use their "dollar vote" and just not buy BMWs. I once heard that a marketing VP for BMW claimed to have repealed the law of supply and demand. He said that the more they raised their prices, the more cars they sold. This would be a good opportunity to prove him wrong.

  • Policymakers Need To Realize How Any Internet Regulation Will Impact Speech

    Upstream ( profile ), 12 Jul, 2022 @ 09:59am

    It would be a problem if they had the power to ban speech everywhere
    The point I was trying to make is that we should be concerned about them getting in a position where they effectively can ban speech everywhere, or where they can otherwise function as an extralegal "branch," or form, of government. The problems associated with private companies functioning as an outlaw surveillance arm of government are recurrent topics at Techdirt. Allowing private companies get in a position where they can function as outlaw censorship branches of government (or alt-government censorship entities) would likewise be very problematic.

  • Policymakers Need To Realize How Any Internet Regulation Will Impact Speech

    Upstream ( profile ), 12 Jul, 2022 @ 09:56am

    It would be a problem if they had the power to ban speech everywhere
    The point I was trying to make is that we should be concerned about them getting in a position where they effectively can ban speech everywhere, or where they can otherwise function as an extralegal "branch," or form, of government. The problems associated with private companies functioning as an outlaw surveillance arm of government are recurrent topics at Techdirt, Allowing private companies get in a position where they can function as outlaw censorship branches of government (or alt-government entities) would likewise be very problematic.

  • If It’s Impossible To Compete With Google, How Come New Search Engines Keep Launching?

    Upstream ( profile ), 11 Jul, 2022 @ 01:22pm

    No tracking?

    When I tried Neeva, Privacy Badger reported "neeva.containers.piwik.pro" as a potential tracker. Whether or not this is a real tracker, and what it may or may not be tracking, is well beyond my level of expertise in the area, but I found it amusing, at least.

  • Policymakers Need To Realize How Any Internet Regulation Will Impact Speech

    Upstream ( profile ), 11 Jul, 2022 @ 12:24pm

    Speech "regulation"

    TBH, there’s already regulation of speech online: . . .
    This is probably the best example of how some of the Internet giants like FB, Twitter, Google, Amazon, et al have essentially side-loaded themselves as quasi-governmental entities. Their speech regulations are often far more limiting and far more effective than the regulations that many governments have in place or are proposing. Yes, they are private entities and may regulate their sites as they please, but we should be wary of this trend of private entities essentially usurping the authority of civil government. I don't think we want a return to the days when railroads were king.

  • Things Are Looking Up: Clearview Cuts Sales Staff, Dumps Chief Revenue Officer

    Upstream ( profile ), 24 Jun, 2022 @ 03:11pm

    We can also only hope. . .

    . . . that this is the beginning of the end for Clearview and that the door does hit CEO Hoan Ton-That in the a$$ on the way out. Hard!

  • Fuck The Police: Bail Reform Isn’t Leading To Increase In Crime, Despite Cops Saying Otherwise

    Upstream ( profile ), 18 Jun, 2022 @ 04:17am

    Broken or efficient?

    The judicial system is broken at many levels.
    When ever the "system is broken" phrase comes to mind, we would do well to ask ourselves: "Is the system really broken? Or is it just functioning efficiently as it was designed and intended to function?" In this case, that translates into: "Was the system meant to achieve justice, and now it is not doing that? Or was the system designed to keep minorities and other 'undesirables' oppressed, and now it is performing that function quite well?"

  • Another Drug Test Relied On By Law Enforcement Is Wrong Nearly 30 Percent Of The Time

    Upstream ( profile ), 17 Jun, 2022 @ 05:34am

    Conflict of interest much?

    Averhealth — like others in the field (others who also have the same reliability problems) — utilizes a two-step process for drug testing. The first test involves a saliva sample that it mixed with a reagent that then reacts to chemicals in the saliva to guess what substances (illegal or otherwise) may be present in the person’s body. Averhealth then follows this up with a better test — a mass spectrometer examination of the same sample that is far more accurate.
    Even if they "say" they are using some sort of double-blind procedure to do the secondary mass spectrometer test, just having it done by the same company that does the preliminary swab test is highly suspect. Not only does it allow the distinct possibility that there may be intentional "confirmation" of preliminary positive results, it also makes the chances of unintentional confirmation bias far more likely. Until there are systems and procedures in place for three independent labs to perform completely blind tests on identical samples, none of these chemical tests should be acceptable as evidence of anything. Of course, end the abomination of the immoral, prohibitionist drug war and simply re-legalize basic individual liberty and this problem, as well as a host of others, just goes away.

  • Fuck The Police: Bail Reform Isn’t Leading To Increase In Crime, Despite Cops Saying Otherwise

    Upstream ( profile ), 15 Jun, 2022 @ 12:52pm

    Correlation v Causation, again

    Even if there were an increase in crime stats after long overdue bail reform laws were passed, how could it be determined if that increase was a result of the bail reforms, or maybe a result of the cop's telling their non-cop criminal buddies that they will be looking the other way, or possibly a result of some other factor(s), like economics, politics, weather, etc? Controlling for all the possible other causes and confounding factors can be difficult (or sometimes impossible), and typically requires much more data than that obtained from one city on one instance of a change in the law.

  • Texas DPS Wants Uvalde Bodycam Footage Buried Because It Might Let School Shooters Know Cops Won’t Stop Them From Killing Children

    Upstream ( profile ), 15 Jun, 2022 @ 07:49am

    They just proved that several good guys with guns are too scared to do anything.
    It seems that your definition of "good guys" is far more expansive than mine.

  • Texas DPS Wants Uvalde Bodycam Footage Buried Because It Might Let School Shooters Know Cops Won’t Stop Them From Killing Children

    Upstream ( profile ), 14 Jun, 2022 @ 01:31pm

    The cat is out of the bag

    Knowing the intelligence and response capabilities of Department personnel and where those employees focus their attention will compromise law enforcement purposes by enabling criminals to anticipate weakness in law enforcement procedures and alter their methods of operation in order to avoid detection and apprehension.”
    Criminals have long known that they will likely face little or no resistance from either cops or other citizens if they violently attack a school, church, or most other places, for that matter. If they didn't know this before, they sure do after Parkland and Uvalde. There have been exceptions, of course, to the standard lame responses to violent attacks, but they have been relatively uncommon.

  • U.S. Broadband Maps Remain Unfinished As Billions In COVID Broadband Funding Starts To Flow

    Upstream ( profile ), 13 Jun, 2022 @ 05:58am

    Feature v Bug

    Bad maps means tons of money being thrown at entrenched, giant ISPs for broadband deployments that often fail to materialize.
    For AT&T and their ilk this is clearly a feature, not a bug.
    But these improvements [in broadband data] aren’t expected to arrive until late this year at the earliest. In government time that likely means sometime next year, long after the money spigot has started flowing.
    AT&T: "The quicker we get paid for not getting anything done, the better (for the children, of course)!"

  • Texas’ Long Indicted Attorney General Launches Investigation Into Whether Or Not He’s The Biggest Elon Musk Sycophant Yet

    Upstream ( profile ), 08 Jun, 2022 @ 11:33am

    What should AG Paxton do?

    Okay, so, it was just a few weeks ago that a teenager went into an elementary school and killed 21 people, including 19 children. You might think there are important things about that which should draw the attention of the state’s top lawyer.
    And what might those things be? Murder is still illegal, even in Texas, and AG Paxton has already been (as you pointed out) quite busy grandstanding and pandering to his base, which is generally what AGs spend most of their time doing.. I suppose he could launch an investigation into the inaction of the Uvalde cops, but that would really just be more grandstanding, since SCOTUS ruled long ago the police have no legal duty to protect citizens. The investigation would be pointless, and would alienate his base, as well. So that idea is a non-starter. There is not much else Paxton could do that is legitimately within the AG's purview, except maybe look into possible monetary compensation for victims and their families.

  • Company That Turned ‘Excited Delirium’ Into A Thing Thinks It Can Prevent School Shootings With Drone-Mounted Tasers [UPDATED]

    Upstream ( profile ), 08 Jun, 2022 @ 07:08am

    Ethics

    If you have, or need, an Ethics Board (or similar) it is prima facie evidence that you do not have any ethics.

  • Company That Turned ‘Excited Delirium’ Into A Thing Thinks It Can Prevent School Shootings With Drone-Mounted Tasers [UPDATED]

    Upstream ( profile ), 07 Jun, 2022 @ 12:59pm

    Easy solution!

    It was the engineer who asked, “and how does the drone open the door?”
    Easy solution: Ditch the drones, and turn the insanity up to eleven. Just fill the halls, classrooms, bathrooms, etc with an array of fixed tasers on the walls and ceilings, each associated with a motion detector / proximity sensor (think the lights in the cooler section of the grocery store that turn on as you walk by). Then, when the system is activated by a "panic button" it would tase anyone, anywhere, who dared to move. All of the teachers, administrators, and staff could have a wireless panic button, just like with cars. See? Problem solved! And, as a bonus, Axon gets to sell truckloads of tasers and associated equipment. /s, for those who need this pointed out.

  • Cops Continue To Make The Best Argument For Defunding The Police

    Upstream ( profile ), 07 Jun, 2022 @ 08:58am

    What, exactly, is the differance?

    Arm a teacher with a gun and they’re likely to shoot a child in the crossfire between themselves and an active shooter.
    How is that different from: "Put armed cops in schools and they’re likely to shoot a child in the crossfire between themselves and an active shooter." Particularly given things like this:
    "Cops are civilians with guns who have had minimal training," Eugene O'Donnell, a law professor with John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former police officer told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
    There are countless examples of cop's poor training in the news, as even a cursory Internet search will show.

  • Cops Continue To Make The Best Argument For Defunding The Police

    Upstream ( profile ), 07 Jun, 2022 @ 04:52am

    Stopping v. preventing in the first place

    Even if you believe people with guns are instrumental to stopping mass shootings (and that any gun control methods would lower this number), the percentage of cases where this happens is extremely low.
    One must also consider the possibility of situations where some would-be mass murderer may have thought something along the lines of: "I would really like to go there and kill all those people, but I won't because I believe quite a few of them are probably armed and would kill me very quickly if I tried." The actual number of such situation is, of course, unknowable. I doubt one could even get a reasonably accurate and statistically probable approximation of this number because the statistics can vary wildly, depending on the definitions of "mass shooting" and "gun free zone." By varying the definitions, one can arrive at whatever answer supports one's preconceived notions or agenda. But one cannot help but notice that quite a few multiple murders occur in places where possessing an effective means of self defense (a firearm) is either completely prohibited or severely restricted. Correlation is clearly not causation (nor prevention, in this hypothetical case), but it does appear that there is sufficient correlation to warrant further investigation.

  • Cops Continue To Make The Best Argument For Defunding The Police

    Upstream ( profile ), 07 Jun, 2022 @ 01:40am

    Mutual Exclusivity

    The crimes people care about, the police don’t.
    Many years ago, when the state college I attended was first required to make an annual report of campus police activity (the campus police were technically state police, the same as the Highway Patrol, the state Bureau of Investigation, etc), the categories of crimes reported and crimes for which arrests were made were mutually exclusive. That is, for all of the categories that crimes were reported (i.e. rape, assault, robbery, theft, etc) no arrests were made, and for all of the categories for crimes where arrests were made (i.e. drug crimes, DUI, vandalism, etc), no crimes were reported. This mutual exclusivity of crimes reported versus arrests made continued for at least the next two years. As I have said before, if it is not fun or profitable, cops don't want to be involved. And if it might be dangerous, cops really don't want to be involved.

  • New ‘Bipartisan’ Federal Privacy Bill Tries To Build Consensus Support, And Basically Succeeds In Annoying Everyone

    Upstream ( profile ), 06 Jun, 2022 @ 10:37am

    A framework??

    What if your contractor said "I'll build you a framework for a house, but beyond that, you are on your own?" Just as with houses, where roofs, floors, walls, door, windows, plumbing, electric, and myriad other things actually matter a great deal, so do the specifics of any law, especially one that tries to address the complexities of privacy in an increasingly interconnected world. Key point in the article: Free speech is generally more important than privacy. But again, this can be very nuanced, with a lot of room for gray areas. Then there is the situation where one person's views on privacy might violate the privacy of others. Ring doorbell cameras and their ilk are a good example of this. Just because one person wants video of everything that happens on their front porch to be available to everyone and their dog, does not mean that the neighbor across the street, whose entire property is also in full view of the camera, wants to allow the same thing. I strongly believe that individuals have a very broad and fundamental right to privacy. When it comes to websites and other commercial entities collecting, selling, or "sharing" PII, the default should be "No! It cannot be required under any circumstances." Opt-in should be at the user's discretion. But even that can get complicated, and beyond that it can be very complicated indeed.

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