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  • Sep 18th, 2020 @ 2:36pm

    ...but only applies to products purchased with taxpayer dollars

    Pretty wimpy attempt that doesn't do much and definitely does nothing about the zillions of silly gizmos already in operation. This is similar to grandstanding "gun control" legislation, which does nothing about the hundreds of millions of firearms already resident in the U.S. Perhaps, someday, we'll be able to elect some Congresscritters who aren't both technologically ignorant and beholden to big corporations. (I also believe in Santa Claus!)

  • Sep 9th, 2020 @ 12:17pm

    (untitled comment)

    If "the Law is Too Hard to Follow," then why do we have courts? In particular, why do we bother with the FISA court?

    Long ago we lost control of our government, which no longer requires the "consent of the governed." Glad I won't be around when we hit this bottom of the slippery slope!

  • Aug 27th, 2020 @ 5:58pm

    (untitled comment)

    If Esther says "..,the chaos hackers were almost redundant in the ugly world that the two warring parties...", I'm with her. She's easily the smartest person I ever met. What I would add, from my own experience, is that "chaos kills," and that's the real issue. Chaos obscures everyone's ability to perceive accurately, and the consequences can be catastrophic.

  • Aug 24th, 2020 @ 7:34am

    (untitled comment)

    "if we genuinely cared about U.S. data privacy and security..."

    But...consider how many government agencies benefit from these flaws: FBI, ICE, CIA, NSA, and all the ones whose initials are secret.

    Of course, many of our enemies benefit, too. The Russians and the Chinese are probably listening to most of the Congresscritters conversations. They probably gave up listening to the Orange Man because nothing he said made any sense.

    With a little effort I suspect one could eavesdrop on some interesting conversations that would lead to some very profitable stock market transactions. Where do I find the instructions for building a ReVoLTE interceptor?

  • Aug 7th, 2020 @ 11:06am

    (untitled comment)

    What's really ridiculous is that the Chinese could just buy all that data, and a whole lot more, from any of the aggregators. Hmmm, they probably already do...

  • Aug 3rd, 2020 @ 2:26pm

    (untitled comment)

    Lying to the FBI is a crime. Why isn't lying to Congress a crime?

  • Jul 20th, 2020 @ 10:47am

    A clever end run around posse comitatus...

    With "acting field general" Wolf leading the charge.

    Posse comitatus ((18 U.S.C. ยง 1385) applies to the Army and Air Force and limits the powers of the federal government in the use of federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States. At the time was it was enacted (1878) no one could have imagined that the U.S. would have law enforcement officers equipped (but not trained) like soldiers. It's difficult to imagine now, frightening, and seemingly intended to reinforce a false narrative about "violent anarchists."

  • Jul 10th, 2020 @ 7:20am

    It's not just about ISPs...

    There are more than 2,000 telephone companies in the U.S., many of them serving rural areas. These are marginal operations, at best, and they rely heavily on inexpensive equipment. They cannot afford Ericsson or Nokia switches (or the corresponding service contracts). Huawei is their only other choice. Banning Huawei simply drives them to being acquired by the large companies that provide terrible customer service and higher prices. That's just a lesser-known component of Pai's contribution to his Verizon/AT&T/Comcast friends. He is certain to be amply rewarded when he returns to his Verizon job.

  • Jun 3rd, 2020 @ 4:22pm

    (untitled comment)

    Stupidity knows no bounds, but we do need to be concerned about the prevalence of idiocy among those who claim to teach our children, because they are teaching that those in authority are idiots.

    Oops, they seem to be teaching reality.

  • Jun 3rd, 2020 @ 11:42am

    A slightly different perspective...

    I have viewed video of numerous confrontations that occurred during the past several days and one characteristic stood out in every one: protesters were dressed in casual clothes; cops were dressed in battle gear and armed to the teeth. Having been in similar situations, I found my immediate reaction was fear, followed by anger at the imbalance of power.

    The imbalance of power is, of course, intentional. No law enforcement officer in his or her right mind would confront an excited crowd without protective gear. And there are generally more protesters than enforcers. There is no reason for the enforcers to be confrontational unless there is an immediate threat to persons or property. However, if the enforcers take any threatening action, the crowd will be ignited, and the battle is joined.

    Crowds can often be controlled without firearms and tear gas. Firehoses are quite effective. So are sandwiches and cold drinks!

    [During the Vietnam War riots I witnessed one police officers remove his helmet, walk half way towards the protesters, and sit down in the middle of the street. It took a while, but soon one protester walked out and sat down opposite that officer. Another officer joined them, and then a few more protesters, and it wasn't long until the only people still screaming were the few that instigated the entire event. They were ignored. I only saw that once, but it's burned into my memory.]

    Unfortunately, the government actions at Lafayette Square have now polarized the entire the situation so thoroughly that it's now gone from anger over a senseless murder to anger about a repressive government. If the President were actually to put our armed forces on the streets outside D.C., there's enough anger and pain to result in a revolution.

    I would suggest a stronger commitment to a collaborative and cooperative reduction of tension... We've all been hurt by a terrible pandemic; a revolution would make the pandemic seem like a common cold.

  • Jun 1st, 2020 @ 10:31am

    (untitled comment)

    With so many complex problems to address, none with easy answers, leave it to the Senate Republicans to focus on a non-problem where they can do some more rich folks a favor and fly under the news cycle radar. Our Federal government seems to fail at every task they are asked to do, quite possibly because Congress (both parties) quit doing their job some years ago, about the time when the Supremes decided Citizens United and the congresscritters no longer needed financial support from the peon citizenry. If the protesters were better educated, they'd be sharpening the guillotines and attacking the people who benefit financially from racial and financial inequality...

  • May 22nd, 2020 @ 4:00pm

    (untitled comment)

    FTC == F**k The Consumer

  • May 21st, 2020 @ 3:54pm


    And everyone else's comments neutered.

  • May 15th, 2020 @ 12:54pm

    Cute mouse; ugly company...

    Disney has become the kind of company that Walt would have abhorred. The company clearly employs too many lawyers who apparently have too little to do. Dropping a rock on a roadrunner was funny; dropping a DMCA on some online fun that costs Disney nothing is just (honk, honk) bullying.

  • Apr 29th, 2020 @ 11:42am

    Re: This is a deployment report, not a happiness report.

    The answer is the first of the relevant questions is NO. The report is constructed in such a way as to create a very false impression. Compared to much of the rest of the world, the U.S. has terrible deployment coverage. The pandemic has just made that more obvious by demonstrating how many people cannot work from home and how many kids cannot attend school from home.

  • Apr 29th, 2020 @ 7:20am

    Just one piece of a much larger problem...

    Numerous Federal government agencies are no longer functional or performing any of the tasks related to their mission. Why should the FCC be any different. Long-time employees are disheartened by how their mission has become a political weapon.

    Based on conversations with former colleagues who are employed by our government, I've learned that pretty much everyone in many of the civilian-facing agencies is in a holding pattern; their leadership is in hiding, afraid to draw scrutiny from the Emperor.

    Some organizations are notably dysfunctional, e.g., FEMA, which is taking orders from the arrogant but incompetent son-in-law.

    The components of the DoD keep doing what they're supposed to do, although their mission is increasingly confused. My friends in the Intel community are discouraged; their top boss is a political hack and their efforts to alert the leadership to potential threats have been, and continue to be, ignored.

    Bottomline: it's no longer our government. He who has the gold makes the rules.

  • Apr 14th, 2020 @ 12:46pm

    Maybe Sen. Tillis' constituents don't know how to read...

    Or he doesn't want them to, because then they might understand that he doesn't represent the voters.

    "Lapdog in Congress" is redundant. Since Citizen's United, they've all (almost all) become lapdogs to one or more special interests.

  • Apr 14th, 2020 @ 8:51am

    Just one more blip of the list of U.S. government failures...

    I have the uncomfortable feeling that the 244-year "clinical trial" for democracy has failed. Our federal government has been taken over by people and corporations with big money. The people we elect to represent us no longer do; they need huge funding just to get elected and are then beholden to those who provide that funding. Over the past many months we've seen repeated failures across the entire government: while millions are suffering from disease and unemployment, the government wants to make it more difficult to get food stamps; the CDC has moved too slowly an ineptly to counter COVID-19; the so-called bailout funds aren't being disbursed to small employers, but huge amounts are going to unknown companies without any oversight (leaving us suspicious that those companies are owned by very large campaign contributors); a huge tax cut, touted as encouraging companies to expand and create new jobs, instead allowed a large number of companies to buy back shares of their own stock; now those same companies are demanding government help to stay in business.

    Alexis de Tocqueville got it slightly wrong. The revised quote should read, "The American Republic will endure until the day large corporations and campaign donors discover that they can bribe Congress with the public's money."

  • Mar 23rd, 2020 @ 11:49am

    This case is likely to be a fantasy, too

    Determining what merchandise is infringing will require incredibly painful analysis. An Amazon search for "unicorn merchandise" yields over 1,000 hits. A similar Google search produces too many hits to be worth counting. The artist's trademark isn't exactly crisp (neither are her images) and it's unclear what, exactly, she copyrighted. References to unicorns seem to date back to the 4th century B.C. and subsequent descriptions and illustrations cover pretty much every imaginable variant of a four-legged animal with a single horn. This feels just as shady as some of the music copyright disputes ("sorta sounds like" == "sorta looks like"). The judge has exhibited far more patience that the "damn fool" attorney deserved.

  • Mar 12th, 2020 @ 4:14pm

    The problem with the patent system is...

    That it's never obvious what a patent actually covers and there are a huge number of patents that can readily be reinterpreted to cover an idea never specifically mentioned. The U.S. Patent Office has been incompetent for decades, regularly allowing patents on the obvious, on mathematical tautologies, and on ideas that are total nonsense. It is almost impossible to write a computer program that doesn't trample on someone's copyright or patent, but there's no way the programmer can find that out. I learned this long ago, when I wrote a program for a character-based display. To identify the cursor position, the program logic applied an exclusive OR (XOR) to the bits under the cursor. XOR simply reverses all the bits, which results in highlighting the character on a screen; another XOR reverses the operation. This is a property of the definition of XOR, which has been part of basic logic "forever." However, there's a patent on using it to flip the bits to make a cursor. Huh? Worse, it's a hardware patent, even though the implementation is in software.

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