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Submission + - Why "Godwin's Law" Doesn't Apply to Donald Trump->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Let's get this straight once and for all: Comparisons between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump do not invoke Godwin's Law.

Godwin's Law applies to discussions where Nazi analogies make no sense. Comparing a strict physical education teacher with Hitler, for example, is an obvious invocation of Godwin's Law.

However, Godwin's Law explicitly does not apply when actual Nazi parallels are in play ...

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Submission + - EU Demands Google Forget "The Right To Be Forgotten"->

Lauren Weinstein writes: "We've been deliberating on this issue for a very long time," noted Winston Charrington, Minister of the European Union World Censorship Directorate. "We've come to the conclusion that only by mandating the complete and total global elimination of all references to RTBF can we avoid unnecessary consternation and controversies regarding those aspects of published history — that RTBF requires be deleted from search indexes around the planet. In other words, if you don't even realize that censorship is occurring, how could you ever be upset about it? Doubleplusgood!"
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Submission + - Why the "Right To Be Forgotten" is the Worst Kind of Censorship->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Which brings us to the second proviso from the truth about censorship.

In true Orwellian fashion, even better than blocking people from information is preventing them from ever realizing that the forbidden information exists in the first place.

And this is where the so-called "Right To Be Forgotten" (RTBF) comes into play.

The key premise of RTBF is that if you can prevent your population from realizing that particular data exists on the Web — even if they could easily access it given such knowledge — you've achieved censorship Valhalla.

This is why RTBF focuses its death ray on search engines. Governments realize the typical impracticality of excising all copies of information from all possible Internet sources. So they instead order the burning of the search results "index cards" in a deeply disingenuous attempt to fool their populations into not realizing the associated materials exist at all.

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Submission + - It's Time to Go Nuclear Against DMCA Abuse->

Lauren Weinstein writes: We must make it expensive with a capital "E" to voluntarily file mass DMCA takedowns that are sloppy, haphazard, and likely to negatively impact significant numbers of innocent parties.

It has to cost. It has to cost big time.

Such abuse has to be made so expensive that even the entertainment industry moguls with the gold-plated toilet seats will start to feel the pain.

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Submission + - Sadly, How Windows 10 Reveals Microsoft's Ethics Armageddon->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Yet much as Microsoft was a bit late to realize the Internet's importance many years ago, they're again late to the game, and the pressures they feel are obvious to any perceptive observer.

All of this can help us to understand — but not to excuse — the ethical collapse that Windows 10 appears to represent for a once great company.

And yes, this is very much a matter of ethics, in much the same vein as bait-and-switch artists and underhanded used-car salesmen of popular lore.

These various players — including Microsoft in their handling of Windows 10 — share a common defining characteristic, a shared ethical flaw.

They avoid being up-front and honest with consumers.

The irony is that these ethical lapses are so easily avoided.

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Submission + - Windows 10: A Potential Privacy Mess, and Worse->

Lauren Weinstein writes: I had originally been considering accepting Microsoft's offer of a free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. After all, reports have suggested that it's a much more usable system than Windows 8/8.1 — but of course in keeping with the "every other MS release of Windows is a dog" history, that's a pretty low bar.

However, it appears that MS has significantly botched their deployment of Windows 10. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised, even though hope springs eternal.

Since there are so many issues involved, and MS is very aggressively pushing this upgrade, I'm going to run through key points here quickly, and reference other sites' pages that can give you more information right now.

But here's my executive summary: You may want to think twice, or three times, or many more times, about whether or not you wish to accept the Windows 10 free upgrade on your existing Windows 7 or 8/8.1 system.

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Submission + - What Google's New Changes to Google+ and YouTube REALLY Mean->

Lauren Weinstein writes: In a pair of blog posts today, Google announced major changes in the operations of their Google+ (G+) and YouTube services:

http://googleblog.blogspot.com...

http://youtube-global.blogspot...

There are a number of changes noted, but my executive summary would be that Google is ending the enforced connection of Google+ user profiles to other Google services, notably YouTube.

The popular clickbait analysis appearing on many sites today is that this is the death knell of Google+, proof that it cannot compete with Facebook.

This is incorrect.

Taking the longer view — and my experience with networked social media reaches back to the dawn of the ARPANET and the earliest email lists — my own analysis is that the changes are great both for YouTube AND for Google+.

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Submission + - Encryption Rights Community: Protecting Our Rights to Strongly Encrypt->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Around the world, dictatorships and democracies alike are attempting to restrict access to strong encryption that governments cannot decrypt or bypass on demand.

Firms providing strong encryption to protect their users — such as Google and Apple — are now being accused by government spokesmen of "aiding" terrorism by not making their users' communications available to law enforcement on demand.

Increasingly, governments that have proven incapable of protecting their own systems from data thefts are calling for easily abused, technologically impractical government "backdoors" in commercial encryption that would put all private communications at extreme risk of attacks.

This new G+ community will discuss means and methods to protect our rights related to encrypted communications, unfettered by government efforts to undermine our privacy in this context.

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Submission + - UI Fail: How Our User interfaces Help to Ruin Lives->

Lauren Weinstein writes: A couple of months ago, in "Seeking Anecdotes Regarding 'Older' Persons' Use of Web Services," I asked for stories and comments regarding experiences that older users have had with modern Web systems, with an emphasis on possible problems and frustrations.

I purposely did not define "older" — with the result that responses arrived from users (or regarding users) self-identifying as ages ranging from their 30s to well into their 90s (suggesting that "older" is largely a point of view rather than an absolute).

Response rates were much higher than I had anticipated, driven significantly by the gracious endorsement of my survey by Leo Notenboom of ASK LEO!, who went out on a limb and assured his large readership that I was not some loony out to steal their personal information.

Before I began the survey I had some preconceived notions of how the results would appear. Some of these were proven correct, but overall the responses also contained many surprises, often both depressing and tragic in scope.

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Submission + - DOJ vs. Google: How Google Fights on Behalf of Its Users->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Over the last few days the public has gained an unusually detailed insight into how hard Google will fight to protect its users against government overreaching, even when this involves only a single user's data.

The case reaches back to the beginning of 2011, when the U.S. Department of Justice tried to force Google to turn over more than a year's worth of metadata for a user affiliated with WikiLeaks. While these demands did not include the content of emails, they did include records of this party's email correspondents, and IP addresses he had used to login to his Gmail account.

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Submission + - Just Say "NON!" - France Demands Right of Global Google Censorship->

Lauren Weinstein writes: I've been waiting for this, much the way one waits for a violent case of food poisoning.

France is now officially demanding that Google expand the hideous EU "Right To Be Forgotten" (RTBF) to Google.com worldwide, instead of just applying it to the appropriate localized (e.g. France) version of Google.

And here's my official response as a concerned individual:

To hell with this ...

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Submission + - Governments of the World Agree: Encryption Must Die!->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Finally! There's something that apparently virtually all governments around the world can actually agree upon. Unfortunately, it's on par conceptually with handing out hydrogen bombs as lottery prizes.

If the drumbeat isn't actually coordinated, it might as well be. Around the world, in testimony before national legislatures and in countless interviews with media, government officials and their surrogates are proclaiming the immediate need to "do something" about encryption that law enforcement and other government agencies can't read on demand.

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Submission + - Seeking Anecdotes Regarding "Older" Persons' Use of Web Services->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Experiences of the "elderly" in any aspect and how ever you wish to define this would be especially appreciated. I believe this category to be of critical importance. This rapidly growing group increasingly must deal with Web services to conduct routine affairs (for example, email or other Web-based contacts with relatives or businesses, government communications, and so on.) This is also a group that could benefit greatly from calendar systems, person-to-person chat and video systems, search services as memory aids, and social networking environments (particularly given the social isolation that is so typically part and parcel of advancing age) — if and only if these persons are able to use these services effectively.
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