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Comment: Re:"Emergency" laws. (Score 2) 146

by N1AK (#47424283) Attached to: UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

This law is actually only enacted because their previous law got invalidated by the EU, and they really really want to still be able to do this!

I disagree with these rules on retention, but the false comments by others who share that view are blurring an important debate. The law that got invalidated by the European court was an EU law not a UK law, so no this isn't because their law was invalidated. There's been a fuss made about this bill being rushed through as though it to hide something; however the bill has come about very quickly compared to most and given the desire of the government to get cross-bench support the timing isn't overly suspicious. They've also added a very short which means which requires a new bill be passed in 2 years which gives time for proper debate.

I'll repeat my assertion that I don't want ISPs to be recording this information for all customers; however making the story about how the bill is being passed (actually very reasonably for the circumstances) distracts from the questioning of whether any such bill should exist at all and isn't helpful.

Comment: Re:Not new (Score 1) 253

by N1AK (#47413785) Attached to: US Tech Firms Recruiting High Schoolers (And Younger)

For one thing, if someone's got a solid work ethic, likes to buckle down and get the job done, takes pride in their work, then how does that coexist with the attitude that college isn't worth the effort? If they think college is stupid, does that mean they secretly think their current job is stupid?

Pretty naive logic. Do you really want to hire someone who stuck at a degree even though they strongly believed it was a unproductive use of their time because of the fear of failure, sheer pigheadiness or irrational risk avoidance? Does that mean they won't challenge poor decisions or provide valueable insights in your company?

I've got a degree and I'm glad I went to university; which doesn't stop me from knowing that judging someone for dropping out without further information is a dumb idea.

Comment: Re:The Amazon AppStore Auto-consent (Score 1) 136

by N1AK (#47392053) Attached to: Amazon Fighting FTC Over In-App Purchases Fine

So asking for a refund for in-app purchases made by a minor should be legal, they are simply voiding their purchase.

There's no reason to interpret voiding a contract as requiring that a payment be returned. There would also be issues around the fact the child has no contract with the credit card provider, and that the person who does will have a contract with the credit card provider which they almost certainly broke by allowing someone else to use it.

None of the above says in-app purchases are right. I just wanted to clarify that the rules regarding children and contracts probably don't impact in the way you suggest.

Comment: Re:It's not just the refund (Score 1) 136

by N1AK (#47392045) Attached to: Amazon Fighting FTC Over In-App Purchases Fine

Does someone who is only 8 understand that when they are spending what are now "Smurfberries" are actually real money?

Why would you give someone who is 8 a device on which they have all the details they need to spend real money? Also, when they buy in game currency that screen will explicitly say how much real money you're spending. It's misleading to pretend that an 8 year old wouldn't be aware they were spending real money.

Comment: Re:It's not just the refund (Score 1) 136

by N1AK (#47392039) Attached to: Amazon Fighting FTC Over In-App Purchases Fine

The same is true of things like pay-per-view - if some cable company had a big BUY button on the remote control that if you pushed it twice automatically tuned to a PPV station and bought the first thing on the list without an option for a PIN, then you'd see outrage over that as well.

If that was clearly explained functionality then I expect you'd find very quick;y that no one would use that company. If it wasn't defined functionality or was a bug, then you'd see people suing the company for the error. You see outrage from people who order dishes with warnings about hot, then can't eat them and expect refunds; the presence of outrage isn't proof of the presence of something to reasonable to be outraged about.

The only real question to me is whether Amazon have done anything to encourages users to feel safe letting kids use their tablets, and if so has it been secured to a reasonable extent. It sounds like there is some confusing behaviour around unlocking in-app purchases when doing other things, which could mean they fail that test.

Comment: Re:It's Intended (Score 1) 136

by N1AK (#47392013) Attached to: Amazon Fighting FTC Over In-App Purchases Fine

Selling an 'expansion pack' containing additional content while users are not playing the game should also be legal, as long as the expansion pack is announced in advance and not prompted for purchase in the game, or given a 'sample' of the expansion.

Why? People can show me adverts for a game I don't own already to make me want to buy it. What is so magically different about showing me an advert in the game for something else that it needs laws creating to stop it?

2.) Selling ability to access something shown or advertised in game, for example as a "locked" mission, "premium" campaign, or "bonus option", should be illegal.

If I go into a bar and order a beer does the bar owner have to hide all the more expensive beers, food etc so that I can't be tempted with it. Should the waitress be locked up if she asks if I'd like another? "on a computer" or "in a game" doesn't make something an entirely new concept. Upselling, expansions, try before buying etc have existed for decades and we don't need a dozen new laws to make doing it in computer games.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 346

by N1AK (#47376285) Attached to: Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails

The real question is: should the court order such an action, and under what conditions?

There is considerable difference between the two cases. Post is only more controversial because it requires someone to trespass, and potentially break and enter, your physical home. If the post service could 'vanish' your paper letter by pressing a button then I'd suggest that yes it should use that ability when a court decides there is sufficient need rather than involving an innocent third party in a technical legal issue.

If GS can persuade a court that the letter was of no interest to the recipient, and that its distribution breaches the rights of someone else then in 99.99% of cases requiring a potentially global manhunt to find the recipient and order him through the courts to delete the email is a monumental waste of money and a burden on the third party. In the small fraction of cases where the recipient cares then one would hope they would be informed of what has happened and have the chance to appeal the removal.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 346

by N1AK (#47376225) Attached to: Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails
You might benefit from following your own advice. He's supporting the idea that the correct channel for this is for GS to have to get a court to agree to order the email be removed. He made no judgement on the obvious theoretical issues, which you seem to think are novel insights, because it is self-evident that a court can and should examine these matters before it orders Google to do anything.

Comment: Re:No effort to avoid targetting suicidal individu (Score 0) 160

by N1AK (#47375251) Attached to: Facebook Fallout, Facts and Frenzy
And? If a news show notices that it gets better viewing figures when shows are more negative and thus changes shows to be more negative that could have a worse effect. If google changes the pagerank algorithm in a way that makes negative sites score more highly (even if it is inadvertant) then it could have a far bigger effect.

People are getting their noses bent out of shape because Facebook talked about this as a psychological experiment rather than testing a system change; what they did was no worse than what thousands of companies do every day, and considerably better than what thousands of other companies do every day (those who prey on peoples insecurity to drive sales).

Comment: Re:more interessting,.. (Score 1) 219

by N1AK (#47352185) Attached to: Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?

Facebook did NOT test it's systems

None of my examples related to testing systems; they all related to testing how users reacted. Literally the only thing that seems different about this to the thousands of other experiments Facebook and other companies are running constantly is that it had an explicit intention to measure the users state rather than just behaviour. I'm not sure that makes any real difference to the ethics.

Comment: Re:more interessting,.. (Score 1) 219

by N1AK (#47352147) Attached to: Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?
Websites are conducting research constantly. When Google moves a letter a pixel in their logo it isn't for shits and giggles; it's because testing showed them that it changed something for their benefit. That testing was an experiment and involved users who will have had no idea that an experiment is going on. When a company tries putting something new in high visibility spots in some of its stores, then uses that data to decide how to place products they are performing an experiment on people who haven't given 'informed consent'.

Literally millions of experiments like this are happening all the time. It isn't viable to inform users of all of them, especially as many people performing them may not even realise they are doing it and it isn't beneficial to stop them all. Read what Facebook actually did, it may be that it crosses a line for you even though it didn't for me, and that's fine; so let's try and come up with a line we can all accept rather than a kneejerk reaction of claiming that any experiment is bad, no matter how trivial, without informed consent.

Comment: Re:more interessting,.. (Score 4, Interesting) 219

by N1AK (#47348915) Attached to: Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?
Where do you draw the line? If Facebook realised that showing more negative stories (by monitoring what people already see) makes people more likely to click adverts is that really any better/worse than them artificially increasing/decreasing the amount of positive stories a user sees?

If Google was having a hard time deciding if a page was junk or not, would it be unethical to put it in the results for some users and see how they react? Clearly that's an experiment without user knowledge, but it certainly doesn't sound like it's unethical to me and stopping that kind of experimentation or flooding sites with notices about them would make things better for users.

Obviously there are experiments they could run that would be unethical if users weren't informed and monitored; discussing where the lines are and agreeing some best practices would therefore make sense.

Comment: Walls? (Score 1) 501

by N1AK (#47322701) Attached to: A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls
I've been trying to watch the entirity of Star Trek TNG. In one episode a system for monitoring and abating tornadoes is mentioned. I would expect any viable solution to tornadoes is going to be based on detecting likely tornadoes faster and applying counter-measures on a case by case basis. Most big tornadoes form from mesocyclones within supercells. Intervention to disrupt the formation of those mesocyclones, perhaps targetting the hot air updraft, is probably the most plausible way of stopping tornadoes.

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