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Comment Re:"Investigation" doesn't mean "harrassment" (Score 1) 282

That's an excellent and relevant question.

There is a balance that needs to happen here - on one hand, an understanding that law enforcement will need to legitimately poke their noses into people's business from time to time. It is certainly to society's benefit that law enforcement be allowed to act with a degree of preemption rather than purely reactionary.

But at the same time, there must also be an understanding that law enforcement is composed of *people*, who are every bit as fallible and subject to moments of weakness, temptation, and corruption as any other people - and so accordingly must be required to act out in the open, subject to inspection. And when law enforcement *does* overstep their bounds, they must be held accountable.

We, as a society, have been lax on the latter. We've allowed some elements of law enforcement to run amok (motivated by mostly good intentions to be sure). Those transgressions are slowly being corrected, and constant vigilance is good practice.

By the same token though, assuming that *all* law enforcement activity is unjustified and harmful is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The pendulum cannot swing too far over in the other direction.

And most of the top comments in this thread are just mindless shoves at the pendulum. More balance and moderation is required.

Comment "Investigation" doesn't mean "harrassment" (Score 5, Insightful) 282

And as a corollary:

"Hello, Authorities? I think this man is up to No Good. I'm seeing behavior that leads me to think a Plot is Afoot.".

"Thank you Sir. We'll check it out."

[an Investigation is Conducted]

"Well, it turns out that there's nothing going on that contravenes the law. No Nefarious Plot. We'll file this in our archives and move on to something else."

The fact that an investigation was conducted in response to a complaint is *to be expected*. That's what the "I" in "FBI" is all about. The good news here was that when the investigation turned up nothing illegal, it was shelved.

Now it is certainly true that during the McCarthy Era, there *were* investigations that went too far, and innocent people suffered consequences even when they were never charged and convicted. There was much for law enforcement and government to learn during this time period. I'm certainly no fan of witch hunts - especially ones where the definition of "witch" is not well defined.

But it is also true that there *were* foreign agents about, and they *were* seeking to do harm. Investigating leads that might end up in a legitimate conviction is a good thing. Dropping an investigation that proves unfounded is also a good thing.

But Oh Noes! Government! Security! These things must be bad, right?

Comment Re:FOIA isn't meant to support a business model. (Score 1) 139

Why "ride the coattails" rather than "stand on the shoulders of giants"?

Is it so terrible that someone might benefit from someone else's work? That multiple eyeballs see the same info, multiple brains ponder meaning, multiple voices tell its story?

Attempting to protect exclusivity with public information is not the right answer.

Comment Re:Info should be Releases When Produced (Score 3, Insightful) 139

Good idea in theory, non sustainable in practice. There's just too much information generated daily; the cost of hosting would be overly high and I bet the UI for navigating it would be horrid.

The current process is nominally OK, less the fact that only one person benefits from the work of retrieving it. Once found, it should be free for all.

Comment Re:FOIA isn't meant to support a business model. (Score 3) 139

And waste more taxpayer money forcing a public employee to go through all the work again?

Free for one, free for all. Putting in the initial request is performing a public service, not something proprietary.

If the process is a "maze", that suggests a process improvement to be made, not an excuse to privatize public information.

Comment FOIA isn't meant to support a business model. (Score 4, Interesting) 139

FOIA is about releasing information held by public agencies to the public. We all "own" it, we have a right to see it, and if we ask, we can.

That's the public "we". Putting in a FOIA request doesn't make that information "yours" and a business model that depends on you adding an additional layer of secrecy is fundamentally flawed. The public has no interest in helping to maintain your flawed business model.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot could recover top spot from Reddit

So Reddit - where most veteran Slashdotters have been hanging out these days - is melting down, and for good reason.

I've been coming back here more lately.

But man, there's things that Reddit does better. No limit on mod points, for one. A better story queue mechanism for another.

Submission + - Reddit's Top Forums are Shutting Down to Protest an Admin's Removal (

Advocatus Diaboli writes: Some of the most prominent parts of the social media site Reddit are going dark in defiance of the removal of an admin who organized the site’s popular “IAmA” interviews with celebrities, politicians, and other people of note. The subreddit /r/IAmA was the first to go dark following the departure of administrator Victoria Taylor, a Reddit employee who was let go, according to the forum moderators. Taylor scheduled and ran many of the forum’s Q&As.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"