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Comment: And then the next step is... (Score 2) 164

Meanwhile, someone who isn't Google and doesn't have offices in the EU will surely make up a page of links to this information. If the page generates traffic, someone will pay for add space there.

And then the next logical step is for the EU to impose some sort of sanctions on the infrastructure and payment services involved if any of them have any connection to the EU -- just as the US government has done with things like DNS and payment services that are conveniently within its jurisdiction.

I'm not sure I like where this is all going. I'm sure we can all agree that overall the Internet has been a great advance for humanity, and in recent years governments from all over the world have presumed to carve it up and control it in their own interests, almost invariably to the detriment of people somewhere else (or, in some cases, their own people).

However, we are going to have to confront some difficult philosophical and ethical differences sooner or later, because clearly we also can't have a situation where the Internet is somehow above the law, but we don't always agree on what that law should be. Frankly, the US government have been throwing their own weight around for years, and Google have been doing things that push the boundaries of typical European legal and ethical standards for a long time too. Neither has shown any particular concern or remorse about the effects of their actions abroad, and neither has suffered any significant negative consequences so far, with the possible exception of the Snowden fallout. Sooner or later the rest of the world was going to push back.

In as much as this marks a change in the general acceptance that the US can export its laws and ethics but won't be subject to anyone else's, that is probably a good direction to move in. It will force the issues of Internet governance and extra-territorial law enforcement into the open, where at least we can scrutinise and debate them honestly, instead of everyone's government doing sneaky things often without much public scrutiny and often because of coincidences involving which infrastructure happened to fall somewhere they could get at it.

Comment: Re:If you can get a devkit, that is (Score 1) 368

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47523667) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

I don't disagree in general, but please remember the original context here was whether going it alone as a start-up might be a liability if Big Players declined to let you into those programmes, i.e., we are talking about precisely the situation where the platform maintainer might not have that implicit interest in your success.

The key difference IMHO is that I don't need Microsoft to care about me. I can write Windows-based software and sell it to Windows-using customers with no help from Microsoft except selling us Windows and any related tools in the first place, and all three parties win on the deal. If I want to sell an iPhone app, my entire revenue stream is entirely dependent on Apple, and Apple are not known in these parts for the care with which they examine new apps or the caution or neutrality they exhibit when banning something they decide they don't like.

Comment: Might that still benefit the US another way? (Score 1) 223

No... The H1-B program is a way of making people more successful in their home country not to bring that knowledge and talent into the U.S. on a permanent basis.

As an outsider with no bias here, it occurs to me that the above is probably in the long-term interests of the US as well. India is a big place, with lots of people, many of whom today are struggling with things we take for granted in the West. Helping to improve things like education standards and technological advancement potentially develops a vast export market for US products and services in the future and/or a mutually advantageous trading partner.

People often look at international aid schemes as charity, and support them on that basis, but the truth is that there is often a level of "enlightened self-interest" behind government support for those schemes, because things like global security and having stable economies in your trading partners are in everyone's interest. Much the same arguments could be made, as I understand it, for the US H1-B programme.

Comment: Re: Just let me do brain surgery! (Score 3, Insightful) 368

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47519129) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

Programmers are just cogs in a machine nowadays.

Code monkeys are, and that's the way that managers who hire code monkeys like it.

There are plenty of programmers out there creating interesting and useful new software, and plenty of customers/clients willing to pay serious money for the value that software offers them without all the unnecessary bureaucratic overheads and middle management crap.

If you are a good programmer and professional in your general conduct, you owe it to yourself not to be a code monkey for anyone, IMHO. You have to be really, really unlucky with the time and place when your current gig(s) run out not to have better options in 2014.

Comment: Re:If you can get a devkit, that is (Score 2) 368

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47519099) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

If you're developing on a platform as developer-hostile as that and you're locked into it so your business can't port to other platforms if necessary, I would submit that you have bigger strategic problems and long-term risks than merely being a small company. An arrangement like that is an axe hanging over the head of almost any size of company and you have absolutely no control over when it might fall.

(No, I don't develop iOS apps or write console games, despite occasionally getting enquiries in those fields, and this is why.)

Comment: Re:I won't upgrade. (Score 1) 681

HP don't seem to have ditched Windows 8 in the UK, at least not for consumer machines you buy in stores. (Source: Multiple friends and family have recently been in the market for laptops and we looked at several HP models via multiple suppliers. I can't comment on what their on-line or business sales are doing right now though.)

Comment: Re:I won't upgrade. (Score 3, Interesting) 681

I do think they care about hardware OEM's shipping old versions of their OS.

That seems to be one area where Microsoft have actually been successful so far. I know a handful of friends and family who have bought new desktop/laptop PCs since Windows 8 was released. The ones actually running Windows 8 are those who didn't have a reasonable alternative, because what they bought came with version 8 preinstalled by the manufacturer and for one reason or another upgrading to Windows 7 wasn't a practical option. Several of them have been extremely vocal about their views on Windows 8, which are typically not things you would repeat in polite company, but buying a good laptop that even has the option of Windows 7 preinstalled instead of 8 now seems very difficult, at least here in the UK.

Comment: Tired? (Score 2) 131

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47344417) Attached to: Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car

There is already technology available in some high-end models that will monitor the driver and take steps to warn them if they appear to be losing concentration. That technology is surely going to save lives sooner or later, given the amount of road accidents caused by tiredness or falling asleep at the wheel.

I'm as concerned about creepy surveillance and illusory security as much as the next geek, but image recognition technology does have positive applications as well.

Comment: Re:It flies like a drone, it watches like a drone. (Score 2) 268

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47340591) Attached to: That Toy Is Now a Drone

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you -- in fact, I suspect from your choice of phrase that we would very much agree on the basic principles of how laws should work -- I'm just saying the law should apply equally to everyone. If certain areas are acceptable for this kind of hobby, they should be acceptable for other similar "drone" flights. Equally, if for whatever reason certain areas are not acceptable in law for general "drone" flights or if the default in law is that these devices aren't considered acceptable but they are then allowed under specific conditions, the same rules should apply for hobby aircraft with similar characteristics.

Comment: Re:Why not? A crime is a crime (Score 1) 135

They're saying after you've been accused x times, you go to jail. I think they missed a few steps.

And for that reason alone, there is absolutely no chance this is going anywhere.

No British government is actually going to pass a law saying you can be sent to jail without having your day in court less than a year before a general election. They get enough flak for pushing in that direction with terrorism-related laws that are only used against a tiny number of people in practice, because of the principle and the risk of later abuse, and that's a subject where a significant fraction of the population will give them a free pass for one reason or another.

Even if some British governments might try anyway, the current administration is a coalition, with a junior partner desperate to prove they are still politically relevant in the face of potentially being wiped out for a generation at the next election. A juicy civil liberties debate would play right into their hands.

And even if they did somehow manage to pass such a law, the chances that it would stand up to the inevitable human rights lawsuit the first time anyone actually tried to use it are slim to none.

This is almost certainly just a relatively unknown MP trying to make a name for himself in the run up to the aforementioned general election. In this case, he's pandering to potential donors from Big Media, possibly because there are finally some changes coming into force that make copyright laws (marginally) less anachronistic in the UK and Big Media inevitably don't like them (despite having managed to water them down to being almost meaningless anyway).

Comment: Re:Well, this won't backfire! (Score 1) 268

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47316339) Attached to: Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

Wikipedia won't go anywhere just because some celebrities have opinions.

It doesn't have to, nor should it. But to create a potentially chilling effect on future contributions to Wikipedia, all you really need is for one life-destroying lawsuit against one contributor to succeed. That would remove any doubt that contributors are still responsible for what they say and can't hide behind the Internet, and in particular that Wikipedia has to cooperate in identifying contributors who break the law.

Frankly, being subject to legal action if you illegal defame someone is what should happen, because being on the Internet is not an excuse to be a dick. Still, several legal systems in the West can and sometimes do impose severe penalties for defamation, and rather like the threats of suing people for made-up copyright infringement in the US, there is unwelcome scope for abuse here even if there is also an underlying grain of truth and the intent of the law being abused is not in itself unreasonable.

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"