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Comment These stories make me feel sick to my stomach (Score 2) 462

I hate stuff like this. I hate it because it is crooked and evil. I hate it because there is very little recourse for the average citizen to make against an attack like this.

Contact your congress reps, local and federal. Try to get them to change the law. What is happening in these stories should be illegal.

Comment Won't win this fight with philosophical arguments (Score 1) 248

As bad-taste as it is to post another submitted story in a front-page story, here is another petition story that addresses net neutrality from an angle that is actually winnable:

That links to this:

In order to win this fight, we need to make people understand that net neutrality is a services-paid-for issue. They paid for something, but they are being robbed out of getting what they purchased. To win net neutrality, you MUST sell that point to people.

Submission + - Net Neutrality Petition->

Tanman writes: There is a new petition that addresses net neutrality from a different angle than covered by most of the media — it portrays the charging of content providers as a protection racket and seeks to outlaw the practice based on contractual obligations to the customer. Please take a look!

make it illegal for ISPs to lower customers' data rates below the advertised amount based on the content being accessed.

Internet service providers (ISPs) currently engage in the practice of charging customers different rates for different levels of internet access. For example, a provider may have 5mb/s, 25mb/s, and 50mb/s plans. If a customer has a contract with their ISP for access at a premium speed, then the ISP should not be allowed to reduce the customer's internet speed based on what content is being accessed. Doing so amounts to a breach of the good-faith agreement between the ISP and the customer. The ISPs practice this policy to engage in a protection racket in which they charge content providers additional fees to ensure that the content will reach the customers at the speeds expected by those customers. There is a huge incentive for content providers to pay up to avoid losing customers.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:One of life's great mysteries (Score 1) 251

When comparing how much people give for charity, percentage is all that matters. If someone makes $50k/yr and gives $5k/yr to charity, and someone else makes $5,000,000/yr and gives $20k to charity, do you really consider them to be more generous since they gave FOUR TIMES the amount? No, they are less generous. They would be giving 0.4% of their salary vs. 10.0%. The impact on their lives would be non-existent. The point of charitable giving is that you are giving up something for other people -- you are saying "my life will be harder so that other people's lives can be easier."

But yeah, I guess you could say they gave quadruple the amount to charity, if you wanted to be disingenuous.

Comment One of life's great mysteries (Score 4, Interesting) 251

One of life's great mysteries is how achieving wealth tends to make people more greedy. For example, studies have shown that, as a percentage of income, charitable giving tends to be inversely proportional to income. Here you have a company that has found tremendous success, and in response to that success they become more greedy and try to shut everyone down.

I think human nature is not to just want success. Human nature is to want to win and stomp on the corpses of your competition.

Comment "unlikely you'll be the one responsible?" (Score 1) 501

"Unless you're the head of a major federal agency or a huge company launching an online initiative targeted at millions of users, it's unlikely you'll be the one responsible for a project (and problems) on the scale of the Health Insurance Marketplace."

Going by budget, even if you are the head of Facebook and Twitter, you are still not going to be responsible for a project on the scale of the Health Insurance Marketplace.

This farce is wholly, completely, and unarguably inexcusable.


Since Snowden Leaks, NSA's FOIA Requests Are Up 1,000 Percent 47

v3rgEz writes "A veritable FOIA frenzy ensued in 2013 following a series of leaks about NSA surveillance programs, recently released documents show. From June 6 to September 4, the National Security Agency's FOIA load increased 1,054 percent over its 2012 intake. In that three-month span, the agency received 3,382 public records requests. For comparison, the NSA received just 293 requests over the same period in 2012. While a few have netted new details about NSA surveillance operations, such as a contract with French security firm VUPEN, the majority appear to have been rejected. MuckRock has a guide on filing with the NSA to maximize your chances of actually getting something back."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Trove of NSA Documents and FISC Opinions Declassified Thanks to EFF Lawsuit 110

An anonymous reader writes "Thanks to an EFF lawsuit, the office of the Director of National Intelligence is releasing declassified redacted versions of various documents relating to the NSA's domestic surveillance activities. The documents are being released on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks." The EFF is hosting the documents, which are searchable. A few initial findings were posted yesterday evening; they include (thanks to another anonymous reader) the NSA illegally using phone data for three years, and evidence that Clapper knowingly mislead the public about metadata collection.

Comment What is the public's recourse? (Score 5, Insightful) 524

I just want to make sure I have the right series of events here, from the public perspective:

1. A previous elected official and congress enact some overreaching laws in response to a terrorist attack
2. A politician who makes a bunch of promises against these programs is elected the new President
3. The now-elected politician strengthens and enforces those programs rather than shuttering them
4. There is some kind of a court decision but it is sealed/secret. FOIA requests are made by EFF.
5. A whistle blower comes forward and exposes the illegal activities to the public because his bosses and the elected official have continued said operations. Since his bosses are the Executive Branch and responsible for enforcing the law, he has nobody to report his findings to other than the public.
6. The elected official and members of congress declare said whistle blower a traitor for exposing their methods.
7. It is revealed that the court had previously, as in years ago, ruled that the activities reported on by the whistle blower are illegal. Meaning the whistle blower is not just reporting the activities, but he is reporting that the President of the United States, the heads of major departments, the Attorney General, and a bunch of other People In Power have been knowingly breaking the law to empower the government. Not only, in fact, are they doing something that the court already ruled is illegal, but they sealed the court's decision so that the public would not know about it.

Did I miss anything?

Oh yeah,

8. Snowden is probably still fucked.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith