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Comment It's not cynicism. It's realism. (Score 1) 44

There is not, and never has been, any such thing as "online privacy". Those either unwilling to recognize that simple fact, or incapable of doing so, seem to be either businesses selling "online privacy" services or their customers.

Want a completely secure computer? Never plug it in. Ever.

Anything else is bells and whistles.

Comment Re:Hatred of High School Principals (Score 1) 379

It's pretty easy to guess the average age of posters in this thread. No one over eighteen cares.

Wrong. ALL photographers, no matter the age, should care about this case. School bureaucracy aside, it would set an incredibly dangerous set of precedents if left unchallenged.

I'd be willing to send that student a copy of the book The Law (In Plain English) For Photographers. Perhaps the principal should read it as well; it would show the principal exactly how wrong he is, before he has to sign off on spending a huge chunk of district money on legal fees.

Comment Re:People? (Score 0) 78

Show me a chip vendor Linux toolchain or embedded building framework (buildroot, Yocto, etc.) which does NOT use GCC. There are exactly zero.

Incorrect. I can think of one right off the top, and while it's arguably a highly-specific niche market, it's still a viable market: GNAT Pro Ada. It very happily builds zero-footprint executables on a variety of embedded hardware, including the ARM M5 family. And the toolchain plays very, very well with Linux (and Windows, and Solaris, and...).

(I'll leave the argument over the relative merits of each language as a separate discussion.)

Comment Re:STL (Score 1) 757

John Barnes, author of several Ada programming texts, sums it up:

If software is safe, it cannot harm the world. If software is secure, the world cannot harm it.

I have yet to see a non-trivial application written in C++ which is both safe and secure.

And that's as far as I go.

Comment Language (Score 4, Insightful) 217

You can code sloppily in any language.

True, but some languages make it more difficult to do so. Ada, for example, won't allow code to compile with (what should be) obvious logic or syntax errors that most C/C++ compilers will happily ignore, and hence allow to go undiscovered until runtime...errors that could be catastrophic in the real world.

Ada has acquired a reputation as a niche-market language, but that niche market takes heavy advantage of Ada's strengths: strong typing and a requirement that the developer properly design the software before writing code. Unfortunately, deciding to develop commercial software in Ada also comes with a fairly steep price tag, because it's a niche market...thus perpetuating the cycle.

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with any company which produces or sells Ada compilers.

Comment Re:well (Score 1) 200

I think there are a lot of missing caveats here since if your statement is taken literally, then you are not allowed to take a picture from the sidewalk of me standing in my front yard which is on my private property. It would also make a lot of the Google StreetView a crime.

...which is why it's a general rule of thumb. And Google Street View would be required to obtain a model release before publishing a photo with you in it, if you can be recognized in that photo. Also, while they could conceivably publish that photo, they could NOT publish a photo of you standing inside your house, because that would be an intrusion on your seclusion.

There's also a new anti-paparazzi law coming onto the books in California, meant to strengthen the one passed a few years ago by including celebrities' children under its umbrella. Whether it passes Constitutional muster remains to be tested in court.

Comment Re:Redundant laws weaken the system (Score 1) 200

Then why don't the paparazzi get convicted when they take long range shots of people on their own property? I see little legal difference between a drone hovering off property and a person climbing a tree or standing on a hill off property. Just look at the number of helicopters around celebrity weddings. What is the difference between a drone and a helicopter except size and placement of a pilot. Those helicopter shots are not illegal; why should similar drone shots be illegal?

One question: are any complaints being filed against the helicopter pilot?

Comment Re:well (Score 5, Informative) 200

Do people legally have privacy in an uncovered yard? I don't think they do. I'm talk about legal, not rudeness.

In the book The Law (In Plain English) For Photographers (ISBN 978-1-58115-712-3), attorney Tad Williams discusses the right of privacy as it applies to photographers. Two cases in point are mentioned: Dietemann v. Time, Inc. (284 F. Supp. 925, 1968) and Galella v. Onassis (487 F.2d 986, 1973). Those are the two cases most often cited as examples of the tort of "intrusion on one's seclusion", and are the basis of the doctrine of "reasonable expectation of privacy on one's own property". (I leave the review of those cases as an exercise for the student.)

The general rule of thumb for photographers is that if it can be seen from a public place, it can be photographed from a public place, UNLESS the subject being photographed is on their private property. Keeping in mind that anyone can be sued for anything at any time, it's best that a quadcopter operator err on the side of caution and make sure to NOT fly their aircraft in a manner that could be construed as attempting to make photographs of persons on private property without consent.

Of course, it may require a few people having their expensive quadcopters blown out of the air by a well-placed shotgun round to get that message across.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney and am not qualified to give legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney with experience in the subject matter for definitive legal advice regarding a particular situation. I am, however, a photographer, and make it a point to keep up with laws and ordinances that affect my enjoyment of the hobby of photography.

Comment Redundant laws weaken the system (Score 2) 200

It's already an accepted standard of law that people have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" when on their own property, including in their vehicles. Thus, photographing them by ANY means (my emphasis) is already illegal unless supported by a lawfully-obtained surveillance or search warrant. To single out "drones" as a means of obtaining photos or video is knee-jerk at best, and arguably could lead to severe restrictions on photography in general.

It's sad that there are some (for lack of a better term coming to mind) quadrotor-cowboys that are more interested in whether they CAN obtain footage using their newfangled toys than stopping to think about whether they SHOULD. Those are the ones that will poison the well for legitimate experimentation and application, such as search and rescue, crop monitoring, etc. Before the dust has settled, the moneyed interests will make sure that the only players allowed to take to the air are Department Of Defense contractors, and if people aren't careful, even the radio-controlled-model industry will find itself under the heavy end of the regulatory hammer, even more so than when the FAA issued its "interpretation of the special rule for model aircraft" in July. That "interpretation" alone could, IMO, completely destroy the first-person-view mode of operation if followed to the letter.

Just my 2p up the change for a spool of Cat6 or something.

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?