Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Product/Consumer/Provider (Score 1) 245

by Anubis IV (#49481449) Attached to: EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges

Clearly you are Google's customer, because they require your custom in order to sell advertising. You are both customer and product.

Because this is about whether or not a term is applicable, let's make sure we have the definitions straight, since I'm not convinced your use of the word "custom" or "customer" is applicable here (though I had never seen "custom" used that way before, so major thanks for prompting me to learn something new! :) ).

I went ahead and looked up dozens of definitions for both "custom" and "customer", and every single one of them mentioned some form of money or other valuable goods changing hands. They either said it explicitly (e.g. A customer (sometimes known as a client, buyer, or purchaser) is the recipient of a good, service, product, or idea, obtained from a seller, vendor, or supplier for a monetary or other valuable consideration.), or they said it indirectly (e.g. defining "custom" as "business patronage", which of course refers to money being given, since that's what patronage refers to by definition). But the point is, they all said it.

Which is to say, we're being provided a set of services so that we can be served up as a product (we agree on that), but I would suggest that our receiving those services no more makes us a customer than a cow being fattened is a customer of the slaughterhouse doing the fattening. What makes someone a customer is their payment for the goods or services, but no such payment occurs here, so while we may be the recipient of their services and the user of their services, we are not their customer.

Comment: Re:Singled out? (Score 1) 245

by Anubis IV (#49480913) Attached to: EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges

You wouldn't say Apple has as strong or a stronger hold on the music and mobile phone markets?

No. I wouldn't. The market share numbers are in some cases nearly an order of magnitude different. Suggesting Apple has a comparable hold on their markets has no basis whatsoever in reality.

Google's search market share: roughly 90%

Apple's global smartphone market share: roughly 10% to 20% (it varies based on iPhone launch dates)

Apple's music market share: roughly 30% for retail sales and 10% for streaming

I wish I could find more recent numbers for music sales, since I suspect the iTunes share of the overall music sales market is much lower now, what with streaming services knocking the legs out from digital downloads. It's also worth pointing out that, as one of the earlier links shows, Android makes up roughly 75-80% of the global smartphone market, so if you want to suggest that Apple has a monopolistic hold over the phone market, what does that say about Google, given that their share is roughly 4x greater?

Comment: Re:"to review new federal regulations" (Score 1) 440

by Anubis IV (#49473877) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

In terms of who I would say that the FCC is answerable to, I'd suggest it's to the laws establishing its mandate, the laws expanding its powers, and the courts who interpret those laws.

You left out an important and extremely relevant entity in that list - the group of people who write and repeal the laws establishing mandates and powers. Some might call those "lawmakers".

You conveniently didn't quote the very next sentence of mine, which said, "I view being beholden to the laws to be very different than being beholden to the people making the laws." Yes, I left them out, but I did so purposefully for reasons that were explained.

As for the rest, we agree on the facts of the matter--that Congress can dissolve the FCC if it doesn't like what the FCC is doing--but we disagree on whether that fact is sufficient to make Congress the "boss" of the FCC, which is a matter of subjective opinion, since it comes down to our interpretation of what constitutes a boss and whether or not Congress is filling that role. You think so and I think not. As I said before, I don't think that either of us will convince the other of our viewpoint.

Comment: Comfort (Score 4, Insightful) 294

I'm not at all comfortable with the current screening procedure madness, but I'm far more comfortable when the TSA agent groping me is just as uncomfortable with the situation as I am. When they're taking pleasure in it, it's a good indication that the system has let us down.

Comment: Re:"to review new federal regulations" (Score 1) 440

by Anubis IV (#49473501) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

I think this is going to be an "agree to disagree" situation.

I disagree with your assertion that Congress is "continuing to delegate that authority". They delegated it. Past tense. It's gone. Unless they take it back, it remains gone. There is no continual reliance on Congress to continue delegating their authority. As such, I stand by my statement that there is no reliance on Congress at all. If Congress disappeared tomorrow, the FCC could continue its operation, which wouldn't be possible if there was a reliance on Congress.

And I feel as if pointing out that Congress can change the laws to govern the FCC is a bit pointless. After all, the same is true for everyone in the country, yet we wouldn't consider Congress to be our boss, even though we'd agree that the laws have authority over us. Similarly, I would agree with you that the FCC only exists at the whim of Congress, in much the same way that my home only remains mine at the whim of the local/state/federal government not exercising eminent domain, but again, it's a question of what the default is if no purposeful action is taken. Should the government not take action, I remain an independent homeowner, just as the FCC continues to exist.

In terms of who I would say that the FCC is answerable to, I'd suggest it's to the laws establishing its mandate, the laws expanding its powers, and the courts who interpret those laws. Maybe it's playing semantics on my part, but I view being beholden to the laws to be very different than being beholden to the people making the laws. And contrast that with Congressional oversight, where Congress is definitively in the driver's seat and bossing around whoever they are overseeing. Those they oversee, they definitely are the bosses of. But those they make laws for? They legislate for them, not boss them.

I dunno...does that explain my stance a bit better? Again, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

Comment: Re:"to review new federal regulations" (Score 1) 440

by Anubis IV (#49472771) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

Make up your mind. You contradicted yourself within two sentences.

Is it a contradiction that your parents aren't your bosses, despite establishing you and granting you life? Of course not, because their whole purpose in raising you was to produce an independent person capable of sustaining itself without a reliance on them for its continued survival. And just because we might be able to imagine a horror film-esque scenario where they attempt to kill you, that doesn't make them your boss, does it? (if you answer in the affirmative to that rhetorical question, then we'll have to agree to disagree)

Likewise, just because Congress can dissolve the FCC, it doesn't make it the FCC's boss. The FCC is self-funded through regulatory fees, has been granted authority to act independently, and does not rely on Congressional support for any aspect of its continued operation. Absent Congressional involvement, the FCC will continue on just fine, just as you presumably would continue on just fine absent parental involvement.

Neither the ability to create nor the ability to destroy makes you the boss of something, nor does it make it answerable to you.

Comment: Re:Circumstantial much (Score 1) 342

by Anubis IV (#49471577) Attached to: Allegation: Lottery Official Hacked RNG To Score Winning Ticket

Except that the so-called security expert is being accused of doing two of the three things the parent poster said.

1) He was as anonymous as possible. The lottery ticket was provided by a corporation in Belize that was claiming the prize via a New York-based lawyer.
3) He allowed as much time as possible to pass. The ticket wasn't claimed until hours before it was set to expire, nearly a year after the drawing.

Despite allegedly taking those steps, he's been caught.

Comment: Re:"to review new federal regulations" (Score 3, Insightful) 440

by Anubis IV (#49467623) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

The FCC answers to Congress.

No, it doesn't. The FCC is an independent agency of the United States. While it may have been established and granted its authority by Congress, and while it may fall under the Executive Branch, it answers neither to the President nor to Congress, except inasmuch as the President nominates individuals to fill vacancies for commissioner seats and the Senate confirms them.

Also note that there are corporations both for and against Net Neutrality. I hope you don't think that Google, Netflix, and Facebook pushing Net Neutrality is purely out of the goodness of their hearts. They're pushing rules that benefit themselves ... and not necessarily the end-users.

Oh, sure, and that's a fair point that I entirely agree with. That said, what I was getting at is that Congress is getting involved this time around because there are major political contributions influencing decisions, and if you use those links I provided to see how much the companies you listed have been contributing, what you'll quickly find is that Google is the only one in the ballpark of the telecoms. Facebook is barely a blip and Netflix isn't even listed. These ISPs are pumping massive amounts of money into Washington to buy votes, and it's working.

Comment: Re:Government != Internet engineers (Score 2) 440

by Anubis IV (#49467559) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is a routing rule that has been with the Internet since the beginning.

Wrong. It's a concept that was first given that name in the early-to-mid 2000s and was first put into writing by the FCC in 2005 in a non-enforceable policy document. The principles that are central to the concept of net neutrality were first enacted as rules in the mid-90s as part of Congressional "open Internet" legislation. Prior to that, they were the de facto policy, rather than a de jure policy, given that the small-time players back then lacked either the incentive or the ability to break net neutrality.

You don't "overturn" it with an act of congress.

Actually, you do. Those open Internet laws that were created in the mid-90s and that were protecting what we now call "net neutrality" had an expiration date on them, which is why the FCC took steps in 2010 to protect net neutrality, given that it was, quite literally, set to expire because of an act of Congress.

How the Internet is designed is a job for engineers and no one else.

If only. Were that true, we'd all be a lot happier, I suspect.

What's at issue is if the FCC's unconstitutional, unregulated expansion of power. Without identifying any previous violations, without even utilizing the courts, and without any act of Congress, they single-handedly declared their authority [...]

What expansion? The FCC exercised the same Congressionally-granted authority to classify communications that they always have, as per the Telecommunications Act of 1996. They do it all the time. Congress had no problem when the FCC classified cable, DSL, and wireless broadband companies in 2002, 2005, and 2007, respectively. Re-classifications can and do occur (including some of the ones I just mentioned), and what they've done recently is just re-classify them again in a way that is within their authority as stated by the federal appeals court in the 2014 Verizon v. FCC case.

Or maybe I'm wrong. After all, you said that the courts haven't been utilized at all and that no Congressional acts were involved. If only my claims could be substantiated...

Just because you can send copyrighted material over p2p protocols, doesn't make them illegal. And just because you can send VoIP over the Internet doesn't make it a telecommunications service.

Ok, first off, the one does not imply the other. Second, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 specifically grants the FCC authority in these areas, regardless of what you decide to call it. Third, the Communications Act of 1934 was around before that and was used by the FCC to regulate these things (albeit, with crufty laws in need of updating). No matter how you cut it, those analogies add up to a lot of nothing.

Comment: Re:"to review new federal regulations" (Score 5, Informative) 440

by Anubis IV (#49467317) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

That's not really what happened here though. Congress long ago gave the FCC the authority to classify communications, establish rules for them, and enforce those rules...which is exactly what the FCC has been doing all along.

Congress didn't bat an eye when the FCC used their authority to (re-)classify cable, DSL, and wireless broadband in 2002, 2005, and 2007, respectively, under Title I of the Telecommunications Act, even though Title II had applied to some of those previously. After all, it was a burgeoning industry, so the lighter touch afforded by Title I made more sense, and there were other laws on the books to prevent the worst of the nasty things those companies might do.

Congress didn't bat an eye when the FCC used their authority to establish policy regarding net neutrality in 2005, establish ancillary regulations piecemeal over the years, or establish stronger protections for net neutrality in 2010. After all, as these companies were getting bigger, it was becoming more and more important to ensure that they acted in ways that were fair, and with the previous rules protecting against nasty things expiring, it was time to establish new ones.

Congress didn't bat an eye when the FCC used their authority to enforce fines against ISPs in response to nasty things they were doing. After all, them's the rules.

But then the Supreme Court slapped down one of the rules over a procedural issue, saying that if the FCC wanted to enforce that rule, they'd first need to reclassify those communications under Title II. The FCC attempted to work with the ISPs to come up with a middle-ground, but the ISPs refused to budge, so the FCC finally went and did exactly what the Supreme Court had suggested: they used their Congressionally-granted authority to reclassify those communications under Title II.

And now, suddenly, Congress is throwing a hissy fit. Why? Because, as it turns out, it isn't a burgeoning industry made up of companies like Prodigy and CompuServe still. Instead, it's made up of massive media and telecommunications conglomerates like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon with hundreds of billions of dollars on the line, and they are not happy with having an appropriate classification applied to them, given that it's a lot more fun to be a misbehaving behemoth.

The text of the rules has been public for months, even though it hadn't been added to the Federal Register yet. This isn't a "we have to pass it to see it" situation at all. And Congress has no good reason for sticking their noses into this situation, unless you consider the millions and millions of dollars they're receiving to be a good reason.

Comment: Re:Booby traps? (Score 1) 91

by Anubis IV (#49465469) Attached to: Killer Robots In Plato's Cave

Based on the definition in the article, it would seem "no" would be the answer, since no target recognition or decision-making is occurring. The government's definitions are roughly that "semi-autonomous machines" are instructed to engage a target and can then do so without subsequent human interaction, whereas "autonomous machines" are those that are simply let loose and make their own decisions about who or what to engage. Currently, no one has autonomous machines, based on those definitions, though we'll be deploying semi-autonomous machines within the next 2-3 years.

The article's author suggests that the distinction between semi-autonomous and autonomous is a useless one, since when you get down to it the important thing about these machines is not who sets the target, but rather how they identify the target. After all, we could have a "semi-autonomous" machine that's told to target "hostile forces", and it'd be indistinguishable from an "autonomous" machine. Each of them would be just as likely as the other to go on a killing spree or be abused. The distinction is a worthless one, since the important thing is their target recognition and engagement capabilities, which is something that both of them can do without human intervention.

Of course, I suppose you could make the argument that a dumb booby trap is just an autonomous weapon with a malfunctioning target recognition system that reports back a positive test result every single time. ;)

Comment: Re:A possible solution... (Score 1) 106

Google should no longer index any site or web page that links to or mentions those who demanded censorship

I sincerely hope you misspoke here, since based on what you've said, you're suggesting we block every news site that reports on censorship. We'd be left without a single good source for news within a month if we did that. Slashdot would be delisted within 24 hours. All we'd have left are news sites in bed with the governments or "news" sites dedicated to utterly banal topics.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.