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Comment: This story paid for by AT&T and Verizon... (Score 2) 205

If the authorities want to stop you from calling, they can already tell the providers to block your IMEI. They can also track you as you move between towers, listen in to your phone calls if they want, and read your SMS messages. But seriously, the providers can already "brick" your phone - otherwise, how do you think they shut off service when you stop paying your bills? How do you think they know to charge you for your long distance calls? And similarly, the police/NSA/CIA/FBI/whomever already has all of those abilities, simply by telling the phone company to give them whatever they want.

Enabling a kill switch is not really creating a new kill switch... It's simply giving you, the purchaser, the right to tell the phone company to block the IMEI using the same tools that law enforcement does now. It literally costs them nothing to allow, since it already exists, but, as noted in the Summary, will result in a huge drop in the number of re-purchased phones after theft/breakage... phones that are frequently re-purchased at full price, due to the multi-year contract lock-ins. This is all about money, not freedom.

Comment: Re:Diplomatic pouch? (Score 1) 289

by Theaetetus (#47697457) Attached to: WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

Do the British regularly search suspicious human-sized boxes coming out of the Venezuelan Embassy?

If the Venezuelans send these boxes regularly, and the British don't usually search them, then the Venezuelans could slip Assange into one of the boxes.

Or, they could throw each box into temporary quarantine in a vacuum chamber (or one filled with an inert gas) for 10 minutes "to be safe against the unintentional transportation of undesirable bacteria". How long can Assange hold his breath?

Comment: Re:Diplomatic pouch? (Score 1) 289

by Theaetetus (#47697049) Attached to: WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

There must be a way to do it. Maybe they could appoint Assange a diplomatic courier.

Once they ship a big box, with a diplomatic seal on it, the host country can't open it. It's like a Fourth Amendment protection.

That's like saying the police can't search you without a warrant, because it's a fourth amendment violation. Sure they can, they just can't use anything they find against you in court. For example, if they search you and find a crack pipe and destroy it but never charge you with possession, you're going to have a really tough time alleging a violation of your civil rights without first admitting that you were carrying.

Similarly, the host country can open the diplomatic bag, find the drugs/weapons/person, and destroy them... leaving the sending country in the unenviable position of either letting it go, or claiming that their rights were violated regarding a diplomatic bag that itself violated the Convention. It's like those Russian tanks that Ukraine destroyed - sure, it was an act of war to blow them up... but it was an act of war for them to be in the Ukraine in the first place, so Russia sure isn't going to be the one to complain.

Comment: Re:Diplomatic pouch? (Score 5, Informative) 289

by Theaetetus (#47696795) Attached to: WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

Suppose they drove a van into the embassy, Assange got in (or didn't get in), and they drove it out to an airport.

Your plan is close, but you would actually need a man-sized diplomatic pouch, large enough for Assange to crouch within, with the zipper fully closed with a diplomatic seal. He'd need to stay in the pouch until his plane was outside territorial airspace.

The "diplomatic pouch" concept comes from the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, art. 27:

Art. 27(3): The diplomatic bag shall not be opened or detained.

However, the next section kills your plan:

Art. 27(4): The packages constituting the diplomatic bag must bear visible external marks of their character and may contain only diplomatic documents or articles intended for official use.

Diplomatic pouches have been opened in the past when they contained, for example, mines, drugs, and even a person - and they weren't violations of the Convention, because they were no longer diplomatic pouches.

Comment: Shenanigans (Score 4, Informative) 326

As a reviewer for USPTO, I can tell you... I just diarrhea though my queue, spending less than 10 seconds on a typical application... 2: Applications that are a refile of a previously rejected one.

No Examiner calls themselves a "reviewer"; it takes more than 10 seconds even to approve an application; and no Examiner would refer to continuations or RCEs as "refiles".

Suspicious post from anonymous poster that just happens to confirm every anti-patent bias is suspicious.

Comment: Re:Belief (Score 1) 379

by Theaetetus (#47505355) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

I was a block away from the Beersheva preschool hit in Dec 2008 which first taught me about what rocket attacks were like. It sounded like a suitcase dropping on the ground... Here's a picture from Wiki of that Qassam hit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P......

You must have a much heavier suitcase than I do.

Comment: Re:Double edge sword. (Score 1) 73

by Theaetetus (#47431955) Attached to: Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

TinyTower and DreamHeights are very different than Theme Hotel and SimTower. Two of these "games" (aka psychological manipulators) are designed to get you to buy inapp purchases, the other two are actual games.

Oh, come on, that's a distinction without any teeth. I'd say the bigger difference is that the first two are one unit per level, while the latter two allow horizontal expansion. The fact that two have microtransactions and the other two don't is mostly irrelevant.

Comment: Re:Clear Cut Collusion (Score 1) 73

by Theaetetus (#47430947) Attached to: Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

This is a clear cut instance of collusion. They should be forced to continue to defend their patents or to release the patents to everyone on the same terms. Patent groups, from this shit to MPEG to BluRay to whatever, destroy innovation more than any individual patents do.

Collusion isn't bad, in and of itself. Say you hire someone to paint your house - you're technically "colluding". The issue is when it becomes an anti-trust violation. And the DoJ has looked at patent pools and determined that they're not always automatically anti-trust violations. They certainly can be, but the mere fact that the participants are "colluding" doesn't make it any worse than any other contract. Instead, there has to be things like illegal patent extension or unfair licensing based on market share or some other feature.

Comment: Re:Double edge sword. (Score 1) 73

by Theaetetus (#47430927) Attached to: Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

Software patents are absurd and a form of double dipping since software is already protected by copyright they should indeed be scrapped.

First, since when is double-dipping an issue? A design can be protected by both trade dress and design patents. A copyrighted character can also be a trademark (see, e.g., Mr. M. Mouse). The two protections are not coextensive, so what's wrong with having both?

Second, why are you arguing for copyright - with a lifetime+90 year term - as opposed to patents - with a 20 year from filing term? Copyright tends to be much more abusive in that way.

And third, software isn't well protected by copyright. Copyright is useful when that specific article is the one you want: you want Picasso's Guernica, not Billy Bob's Smear of Paint on a Wall; you want "The Avengers" movie, not the Mockbuster "The Revengers"; you want to read about Harry Potter and his Half-assed Plot or whatever Rowling has cranked out, not Larry Kotter and the Temple of Doom. It's why the RIAA/MPAA love copyright so much. And it works for operating systems, since you do want Mac OS or Windows as opposed to Marc OS or Winbows.
But it doesn't work very well for, say, TinyTower- er, DreamHeights- er, SimTower- er, Theme Hotel. Or, say, any one of these 78 games like Minecraft. Copyright doesn't protect against any rebuilding of the same game, provided different sprites and textures are used and the code is original, even if nearly identical. It doesn't prevent reverse engineering, and doesn't prevent the kind of copying Zynga specializes in.

Comment: Re:Time to abolish patents (Score 1) 73

by Theaetetus (#47430831) Attached to: Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

I could also counter with the converse argument - consider I had an idea that could yield me a couple of thousand dollars a month but I can't due to a patent issue then ....

You patent your improvement on the existing patent, and then cross-license with the other patent owner. Or you go ahead with your idea, and pay a couple hundred a month to the patent owner. Either way, net win for you.

Comment: Re:Australian Wheel Patent (Score 1) 36

On closer inspection the Australian patent that was granted is less absurd than it seems, as it was more of a quasi-patent:

Innovation patents last for a maximum of 8 years, whereas standard patents last for maximum of 20 years

... which is why the article quote "I discovered today that the Australian patent office has — quietly — revoked the patent it granted, in the year 2001, for the wheel" is even more absurd. It expired in 2009. This was "revoked" in the same way that the moldy cheese in the back of your fridge with a best-by date in January has been "quietly revoked".

Comment: Re:Pretty sure this won't work (Score 1) 311

by Theaetetus (#47420065) Attached to: Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

As I and other have already pointed out, we are not blaming her for becoming a victim.

There's an entire thread titled "Why yes, we should blame the victim here", with the root post rated +5 Insightful. Yeah, people are blaming her.

Oh, well, and since we all know that a name is always 100% accurate and tells us everything...

Did you actually read the thread, or just the headline and thought "oh, that must support my position?" Because I read it, and some of them make a very good point regarding the context of this particular situation.

So, you're endorsing the following?

Don't want your nudes to end up in public? Don't take nudes that you wouldn't want the public to see. Then you can be a true victim. The whole concept of "revenge porn," insofar as it applies to nudes and porn freely made and disseminated, is ever so much "I want my freedom.... but I don't want my choices to have consequences of which I don't approve."

We have a term for that behavior. It's called behaving like a child.

Is this one of those "very good points"? Because it sure as hell looks like blaming her for becoming a victim, something you claimed wasn't happening.

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

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