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Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 1) 1173 1173

In other words, if a stranger wanders onto your property, you shoot them and ask questions later.

If a stranger wanders onto your property carried along on the back of a foot long drone, then I think any reasonable person would assume an alien invasion by really tiny people (or ants) is in progress and do their patriotic duty and start shooting.

In the words of the wise: "How can you be expected to teach children to read if they can't fit inside the building?"

Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 1) 1173 1173

Depends on what you shoot at it with.

Shooting at the sky is bad. Falling bullets can kill.

And that was one of the charges. I think the facts of the particular case are important rather than the principles at stake. Of course he had an expectation of privacy and below a certain height (I think it is 500 feet or so) the other person was trespassing with the drone. Did shooting it out of the sky reasonably endanger anyone... How far from the property line was it? What direction did he shoot? This was a shotgun, so pellets generally have a shorter range than a rifle or hand gun. The fact that only the drone was damaged and no one was actually hurt should count for a lot.

Comment Re:Nonsense law still can't be ignored (Score 1) 157 157

It is no more "bullshit" than a bank being required to open a safety deposit box when a warrant is presented against whoever is leasing the safety deposit box. That search is happening on bank property, but the bank does not have legal standing to challenge the warrant.

We do NOT need internet-enabled corporations running rampant over the law as if they had no legal responsibilities nor limitations on the scope on what they're allowed to do. There are often CLEAR examples of similar situations with physical property, but the weasels in the "new" digital world would like to claim that they're above those precedents.

When I upload pictures or make a post on Facebook I am conveying Facebook certain rights to that content through their terms of service and that is what should give them standing. Facebook isn't merely holding some information for me like a storage provider or "safety deposit box". They are creating information about their transactions with me. They are hosting content which I have conveyed some ownership rights to. These are business records owned in some way by the business. Companies don't have standing to represent me (unless I have given them permission to do so through their terms of service which should be updated to convey the right to do so in this type of situation), but they should and must have standing to represent themselves and their own interests in protecting their data from unlawful searches.

If I write about someone in my journal. Say a transaction log. And put it in a locked cabinet in my home. Then that is my information and not owned by the person I am writing about. If the government then wants my journal and wants me to provide the key, then I certainly have standing to challenge a government demand for the key to the cabinet where my journal is held.

Facebook is the same. They are the ones keeping the journal, the logs, the databases. I don't have a key to Facebook's server room or a colocated server in their facility. There is no analogy to a bank's safety deposit box that makes sense or applies here.

Comment Re:I've said it before (Score 1) 391 391

While I generally agree, what happens when the only jobs left are those that require creativity or critical thinking. There's a lot of people out there who can't do anything more complicated than repeating a few simple tasks over and over again. These jobs are going to be replace by robots. When the only jobs left are jobs that require high levels of thought, there's going to be a lot of people who simply can't hold down a job. I don't think that changing the way we educate people or making education free or anything else is going to be able to change the fact that some people don't have the cognitive ability to do the high level jobs that robots won't be able to do.

Also, realistically there are limited jobs for creative and critical thinking and most of those aren't really necessary. Food, Shelter, Clean Water, Transportation, Energy are the really critical things that people need on a day to day basis. And those things can be produced more efficiently in more industrialized and automated ways. Creative and critical thinking are overrated as useful skills. Especially when you have a thousands of people that have those skills applying for one actual job.

That leaves the rest of us pattering about on blogs and making babies, drinking which is all well and good until someone decides they aren't getting enough or are pissed off that the person who cheated to be .01% better than them has 50% or 99% more than them and the system is based on a bunch of meritocratic BS lies.

Comment Re:Isn't Flash extinct? (Score 2) 199 199

Adobe should provide/sell tools that will enable people to convert their Flash content into the equivalent standards based browser supported formats. If they make it easy they will have created an essential web development tool in the process. If they stick with Flash they are just milking the dead horse.

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 389 389

is reformed in the House bill, which does away with it over six months and instead gives phone companies the responsibility of maintaining phone records that the government can search." Obama criticized the Senate for not acting on that legislation, saying they have necessitated a renewal of the Patriot Act provisions.

You are right, as it ended up being the House Patriot Act extension in the name of the USA Freedom Act was not a real reform. Requiring a warrant to gain access to the information was the real issue.

Although if they simply required the companies to retain the data for a period of time AND required the government to get a constitutionally valid search warrant to access particular records directly related to a terrorism case then that would be the reform we need. The companies have these records anyway, it is the search warrant part that is what we need.

Comment Re:Those who would give up.. (Score 1) 389 389

In secret... and illegally! There is a big difference between walking up to the front door and demanding cooperation from a business and covertly gaining access to those records. It is a several order of magnitude difference in effective ability to collect information about people

Having fourth amendment protections honored and respected means that the police can't just knock down the door of your business to search your records because of the remote possibility that someone that you do business with could be a terrorist.

Having a Patriot Act provision that says the the government doesn't need a constitutionally valid warrant to get business records is far far different than covertly collecting information via hacking or by purchasing the information. To have the freedom to choose companies that will honor their privacy agreements is itself an important step. To have the recourse to sue those companies when they voluntarily sell the government your private information in violation of your privacy agreement is important.

What is at stake is the government being able to walk into a company with a secret order demanding they hand over all the records the government wants without a constitutionally valid warrant. Having a law to point to that says companies can be forced to cooperate makes a big difference to the ease at which the government can collect mega data and conduct unconstitutional drag net surveillance.

Billions and billions of records about everyone's communications with which you can monitor their movements, their political affiliations and activism, monitor all their recorded financial transactions and purchases, determine their race, infer their sexual activity, and otherwise find exploitable personal weaknesses, affinities and affiliations en masse.

Oh and then put that in a giant database which is exploitable by America's adversaries.

Yes, this matters. Let the Patriot Act expire!

Comment Re:You cannot know *WHO* is voting (Score 1) 258 258

Small town corruption has always been a significant and insidious problem, and you can do a case study with pretty much any town under 20k people with a few families holding the power and retribution being common enough to simply assume.

Yes, but in a small town you can do something about it. Big City, state-wide, or national corruption can become systemic and entrenched. Seems like pretty much every Big City and state in the country is beholden to one party machine or the other. Where local elections and issues are more grassroots, personal and non-partisan.

Comment Re:You cannot know *WHO* is voting (Score 1) 258 258

Based on my own experiences living in small towns, I can only conclude that either you never have, or you're smoking some mighty fine dope. There's no place where anonymous voting is more necessary. Boss Hogg knows where you live, and where your kids play. And will make certainly know he knows.

I don't partake. And I am not taking about voting for representatives or to elect individual people.

Have you lived in a small town with an open town meeting form of government? Roberts Rules. You sit in a big hall, sometimes there is a voice vote when you either say yay or nay and if the moderator cannot determine the yays or nays then you stand and are counted as either yay or nay. Only for votes on salaries for particular town officials do they pass around the paper for an anonymous vote. You could do something similar online for voting on spending issues or bylaws without worrying about anonymity.

If you don't want to stand up and be counted then don't vote, just like there are many people that don't come to Town Meeting.

Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless. -- Sinclair Lewis