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Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 3, Interesting) 436

by Jason Levine (#47581591) Attached to: Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers

Sadly, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and a bunch of other countries have wanted this for awhile. They want the "law of the Internet" to be that if you do X and you doing X is visible in their country where X is illegal, you've broken the law and can be prosecuted. They drool at the thought of being able to force their laws on the Internet at large. Sadly, this US judge is only helping their plan with his short-sighted ruling.

Comment: Re:Air through the fences (Score 2) 436

by Jason Levine (#47581565) Attached to: Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers

No, it's like if you take a bunch of information to a country border and hand it off to someone on the other side.

Now, say that information you passed to the foreign national was stolen nuclear launch codes, or a list of where you hid the bodies. Do you really think the government should not be able to get a warrant for that information, just because it's not on US soil anymore?

Of course, the government should be able to get a warrant for that information. The difference is that the government should go to the foreign government's court system to get said warrant. Issuing a warrant in the US for data stored on a server in Ireland makes as much sense as police from the US demanding to cross the border and search the house of a Canadian because he was suspected of a crime in the US.

Comment: Re:Legitimate concerns (Score 1) 274

by Jason Levine (#47576753) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

There's also the ability for anonymity to be used to avoid bullying, etc online. The obvious example is speaking out against a tyrannical regime. If I post a political rant against a powerful public figure (be he the head of a country or some local mayor who uses the sheriff as his own personal guard dog) under the name "Jason Levine", it might be easy to track me down. If I post it as "Political WatchDog 1776" or some other pseudonym, it becomes harder.

To give a more concrete example, and one that affected me personally: There was this woman who was harassing people online. She was seriously mentally unhinged (thought that she spoke to god and that she was a prophet). She would accuse people of serious crimes and then contact their friends, family, places of business, etc to spread these accusations. Accusations which were totally founded in "god told me they did it" but accusations which the mere mention of could get people in trouble. (We're talking accusing a teacher of fooling around with kids. It's easy to picture a reactionary administrator firing a teacher just based on an accusation.) When she targeted me, though, I was using a pseudonym. (Slashdot is one of the rare spots I use my real name.) Since she didn't know my real name, she couldn't spread lies to my friends, family, work, etc. My anonymity helped save me from worse harassment.

There is a method of dealing with people who abuse anonymity. Go to a judge and present evidence that the anonymous postings constitute harassment, libel, etc. Get the judge to issue a court order which will give you access to the poster's IP address. Use that with their ISP to get their name. It's not fool proof, of course, but nothing is. This also keeps it from being trivial to find out a poster's real name just because you don't like what they said.

Comment: Re:Apparently... (Score 5, Insightful) 345

Exactly. Too many people (both businesses and home users) say "Well, I don't have anything that 'those hackers' would want so why bother with protections?" The thing is, though, you DO have something they want. At the very least, a home user has bandwidth. If a malware author hijacks a computer, he can use it to pump out tons of spam. The user might notice an annoying slowdown but otherwise wouldn't know what was up. In the case of businesses, infecting your customers with malware (due to being hacked) or your site slowing down to a crawl (because it is a spam bot and is spending precious resources spamming people) is a sure method to lose customers. I'd wager that the money "gained" by not doing a proper firewall network is more than lost by the "lost sales" of customers fleeing after the servers have been hacked.

Comment: Re:The Alliance of Artists should lose this suit (Score 1) 314

by Jason Levine (#47566879) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Exactly. You could remove the "in car entertainment system" and substitute a normal laptop computer and the scenario would be exactly the same. (If not worse. There might be no way for the in car entertainment system to export the ripped files somewhere else but a computer can do that easily.) If the in car entertainment system is deemed illegal, you might as well call all computers illegal as well.

Comment: Re:Did they take on Apple? (Score 1) 314

by Jason Levine (#47565895) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

And, I do believe the courts have ruled in favor of copying music from CD's to MP3 and similar (i.e iPod) devices for personal use.

This was decided way back in RIAA vs Diamond Multimedia. Diamond came out with an MP3 player (before the first iPod was ever released) and the RIAA attacked them for facilitating piracy. In the RIAA's view, having a device that played MP3s meant that you were encouraging people to download illegal MP3s and thus should be banned. The courts, thankfully, did not agree. Diamond got to continue to sell their devices. The RIAA were denied the opportunity to destroy a fledgling market so as to better keep progress from happening and to retain absolute control.

In fact, this lawsuit was decided on the basis of the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 - the very act that the music industry is suing based on now. This proves that, after 15 years, the music industry has learned nothing and still wants to stifle that upstart MP3 industry for daring to change the music industry's precious status quo.

Comment: Re:The Alliance of Artists should lose this suit (Score 2) 314

by Jason Levine (#47565759) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

The summary said that the system could hold about 2,472 tracks of music. Since copyright law grants infringement penalties starting at $750, this makes a system full of music "worth" $1,854,000. Of course, the maximum is $150,000 so clearly this is costing the recording industry $370,800,000 per car sold with the system!

Comment: Re:The Alliance of Artists should lose this suit (Score 1) 314

by Jason Levine (#47565701) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

So any ripping of CDs to MP3 format (or any other format) is illegal also? (We'll keep things simple by assuming you don't share these rips out with anyone.) When I ripped my CD collection to MP3 so that I could play it on my computer, I was breaking the law? I guess I need to pay at least $750 per song ripped. Half a million ought to cover it.

Perhaps you are based somewhere other than the United States where ripping is illegal, but in the US (where this lawsuit seems to be based) it has been accepted for quite some time that ripping CDs is legal. Yes, people can use ripping of CDs in a less-than-lawful endeavor. They can rip others' CDs. They can rip the CDs and then share the resulting files online without the permission of the copyright owners. However, the ability to perform an illegal action with X doesn't make X illegal. If that were the case, all computers would need to be banned. Or, at the very least, all disc drives in computers.

If I buy a CD and want the music in MP3 format, I'll rip the CD to MP3 without any fear of the recording industry sending a lawsuit my way.

Comment: Re:The Alliance of Artists should lose this suit (Score 1) 314

by Jason Levine (#47565639) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

I don't even know how you would violate the law with this thing. It'd probably involve a custom firmware.

Person A buys a hot new CD and lends it to Person B. Person B puts it in their car and rips it to the car's hard drive. Person B then returns the disc to Person A. Repeat both ways and with a dozen other people.

All that being said, though, this doesn't make the in-car ripping illegal. You could do the same thing with any computer with a CD or DVD drive. I could lend you a CD and you could rip it - keeping the digital copies of music you never paid for. The legal test is supposed to be whether the primary purpose of the device is piracy, not whether it can be used, under certain circumstances, for piracy. In the case of the former, the car's system is legal. In the case of the latter, all computers with CD/DVD drives would be illegal.

Comment: Re:Where are the buggy whip dealers? (Score 1) 543

The proportion of people who want slide-out keyboard phones might not be zero, but manufacturing slide-out keyboard phones requires monetary investment (design the phone, manufacturer it, ship it to stores, market it, etc). If the market for these phones is too small, the money spent on creating one might not be made back by sales. Therefore, manufacturers would be more likely to invest in a virtual keyboard model which has a bigger market.

No, the market might be non-zero, but if it is small enough, it may as well be. If a market is too tiny to be profitable to serve, you can't blame the manufacturers for not serving it. The horse-and-buggy demand is non-zero (Amish still use them). Does this mean that all car manufacturers should come out with a horse pulled buggy model? (The new 2015 Chevy Tahoe Buggy!)

Comment: Re:The Muslim world cares so much for the Palestin (Score 3, Interesting) 511

Bit of history in the "creation" of the Palestinians (as they stand today): When Israel was formed and the Arab nations that surrounded it declared war, the Arab nations told the Arabs who lived in Israel: "Flee from Israel to us. When we drive Israel into the sea, we'll give you your land back."

Many fled, but not all. When Israel won the war, the Arabs who fled found they were blocked from returning. (Would you allow someone back if they supported the people who just tried to destroy you?) The Arabs who stayed, though, kept their land and businesses. Today, they (or their descendants) own businesses, are full citizens, and one even is on the Israeli Supreme Court.

The idea that Israel kicked the Palestinians out is completely false.

Comment: Re:Meta-problem (Score 1, Informative) 511

Another piece of evidence towards this point: After the wars with Israel, Jordan found itself with a good amount of Palestinian refugees. Publicly, Jordan bemoaned the horrible fate of these Palestinians. They were living in tents and looked horrible. However, Jordan could have easily settled them within their territory. They chose not to because - for all of their claims of caring about the Palestinians - their "care" was about how the Palestinians could be manipulated to make Israel look bad.

This conflict has not only been exasperated by people on the Israeli and Palestinian sides, but it has been egged on by Arab states who either hate Israel or who use hatred of Israel to distract their populace from their own misdeeds. (Or both.)

Comment: Re:Meta-problem (Score 0, Troll) 511

Hamas hides military weaponry in schools, hospitals, civilian homes, etc. They use civilians as cover.

When Hamas launches their rockets, they don't give any warning. The rockets just rain down and it is up to the Israeli defense systems (both the missile defense system and the alerts/bunkers) to protect their people. Hamas also doesn't target just military locations, but anywhere their missiles can hit.

When Israel launches a rocket, they give warning. They send out text messages, drop leaflets, announce in any way possible that X compound will be hit at Y time for Z reasons. They warn everyone to clear the area. It might seem counter productive to warn your enemy that you are coming, but when your enemy is hiding in a hospital, there is no way to get to him without hurting civilians. So Israel warns the civilians ahead of time and tries to target their strikes to just the areas hiding Hamas rockets.

When the cease fire was in effect and Hamas stopped firing rockets at Israel, Israel stopped firing rockets back. If Israel stops firing rockets at Hamas, Hamas doesn't stop their attacks.

Let's be honest here. Suppose here in America, some native American group got a hold of a bunch of rockets and began firing them from their reservation onto American cities. Suppose those rockets were housed in hospitals, houses, places of worship, etc. Would the American government sit down and ask the group nicely to stop firing? Or would they send in the troops? Even if they tried diplomacy, how long would the politicians hold out against the populace who would be screaming for some kind of action to stop the rockets?

Is Israel perfect? Of course not. There's a lot of policies of theirs that I take issue with. (e,g, Tolerating settlers who venture into the West Bank/Gaza/etc to set up "claims" for that land to be part of Israel. Those settlers should be forcefully removed and imprisoned for inflaming the conflict and thus risking people's lives.) However, when it comes down to Israel's reactions to the rockets heading towards them, there is no perfect response. There is no way for them to respond that a) stops the bombs, b) stops future bombings, and c) doesn't hurt innocents. They have a system in place to reduce collateral damage as much as possible, but it doesn't help when Hamas acts in a manner designed to intentionally INCREASE collateral damage.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley