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Comment: Re:Over-reacting is required (Score 4, Insightful) 146

You don't get to pick and choose on a spectrum of "obeying the law." The DMCA is so poorly written that even a little hesitation or restraint causes a business to lose its liability protection under the "red flag" tests.

To preserve its safe harbor protection an ISP must take material down whenever it receives a DMCA notice. They DMCA notice also relieves the ISP from potential liability to the owner of the site taken down.

But what should the ISP do if it receives a piece of paper with the words "DMCA Notice" at the top but it does not contain all of the legally required information? Take the site down anyway? Then they could be liable to the site owner. What if some of the answers are not just hard to believe, but actually nonsensical? What if it is signed "Mickey Mouse"? Or what about this requirement:

''(ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site."

What if the complainant wrote "The copyright protected work is my name, John Jones." That is a nonsense answer. It is not much different than writing "Not telling!" or "Get lost!" in the space. I would say that the ISP should send the request back with a note that it is not a legally valid DMCA notice. The ISP is not expected to verify that the information provided is true, but they should verify that all of the required information is present.

Comment: Re:I lost the password (Score 1) 560

This is sort of like saying "tell us where you buried the bodies or we'll jail you permanently for contempt". Actually no, it's EXACTLY like saying that. The key sure as fuck IS incriminating evidence, just the same as the location of a dead body.

No, it is not like that at all. If he told them where the body was he would be admitting that he was somehow connected with the crime. This is more like: We suspect that you murdered and buried the body. Tell us the address of that summer cottage in Vermont you were telling us about so that we can go search there.

Comment: Re:I lost the password (Score 2) 560

It's not so clear cut.

They generally can't compel you to turn over your encryption keys so they can go on a fishing expedition through your encrypted hard drive, looking for evidence with which to proceed... but they can compel you if they know you have specific evidence that they will find (ie they saw kiddie porn on your PC before you closed it and it required a password to log back in)

How sure they are that they know what is on the hard disk is not important as long as it was enough to get a warrant. According to this decision the important point is whether by unlocking the drive the accused will be admitting that the encrypted volume is his.

Comment: Re:I lost the password (Score 2) 560

Ultimately, the problem is one of a practical nature: until the incriminating evidence is actually shown to be on the encrypted hard drive, it is only suspected to be there, by any legal interpretation of "suspicion" -- if it was legally known to exist there, you could be found guilty without the bothersome effort of having to decrypt the data. Thus, by the wording of the ruling, the court is allowed to compel testimony in the form of a passphrase under literally any circumstance, since any suspect is, by definition, under "reasonable suspicion."

Welcome to the new world order. Papers, please...

That is not quite what decision says. Reasonable suspicion is sufficient to get a search warrant and the authorities can take the hard disk and try to break the encryption. The defendant can be compelled to give them the key only if it is already proven (not just reasonably suspected) that he has it. This defendant lost because he bragged to the cops that he had the key.

The reasoning is that when a defendant decrypts a hard disk for the police he is admitted that he had access to its contents. But he has already admitted that. So now by unlocking the drive he will be telling the police anything new. He is simply unlocking the door so that the cops can go in with warrant in hand.

Comment: Re:Awesome! (Score 3, Interesting) 276

by Давид Чапел (#47314461) Attached to: Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

When the judge issues an arrest warrant for someone preventing someone boarding an airplane due to being on a no fly list, I'll believe it will make a difference.

Actually it will be respected when a judge requires the government to either explain why a person is on the list or take his name off. The government has been claiming that the reasons must be kept secret for reasons of national security and that this does not violate the "due process of law" requirement of the constitution because the persons on the list are not being deprived of "life or liberty".

The judge has just ruled at these persons are being "deprived of liberty" and that the appeal process does not constitute "due process of law". Thus, it is unconstitional. The judge has said in effect: "I understand your concerns about national security, but what you are doing is illegal. I don't care how you fix it, just fix it."

The appeals process does not constitue due process of law because the party on the list is not informed of the accusations which he is to refute. The government expects him to guess what information might alay their fears. For a truly innocent person about whom completely nonsensical accusations have been lodged, this is impossible. No one has ever been able to get off this way. Only one person has gotten his name removed from the list and that was by getting an FBI agent to admit that he had checked the wrong box on the form nominating the person for the list. Even then it took a sternly worded court order.

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 682

by Давид Чапел (#47273547) Attached to: IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

I'm just baffled as to how IT managed to avoid being lynched by the cube drones if their standards for data retention and redundancy are in fact that low.

People hate losing data, and storing it the employee's HDD (except as an expendable cache purely for speed and bandwidth purposes) is roughly equivalent, once you have a decent number of people in the office, to just randomly deleting some sucker's email every week or two. Even in complete absence of any legal requirements, the users would either switch to unofficially using some shit webmail service or rise up with pitchforks in short order.

Actually, I am surprise by how accepting users can be of data loss. People frequenly accept the loss of things far more important than an bunch of boring e-mail messages. I have know people to format hard drives with hundreds of family pictures because they really want to get the computer working again.

These people were not engaged in a creative endevor and did not lose an irreplacable work product. Without this investigation, what they lost would be junk.

Comment: Re: Ignorance usually leads to inequity (Score 1) 649

A clarification to my own post:

I believe that we should examine the evidence of whether life is natural or artificial make an informed our choice of theism or atheism, not the other way around. In other words, we should not chose atheism or theism and then use that as a basis for deciding whether life is artificial or natural. I suspect that evolutionists who claim that our prescence on Earth proves a natural origin of life are doing just that.

Comment: Re: Ignorance usually leads to inequity (Score 1) 649

It's only when the school is presenting any religiously influenced doctrine as true when the scientific consensus disagrees that we have problems.

I for one would like to see good scientific evidence for whether the Earth and life on it are natural or artificial. I don't see how dismissing any assertion that they are artificial as "religiously influenced" helps. Furthur, the scientific concensus to which you refer seems to be a result of the influence of atheists who pretty much have to conclude that the Earth is of natural origin.

Examination of human communities and their beliefs tells us nothing about whether the Earth is of natural or of artificial origin.

I find the idea that science teachers must assert that the Earth is of natural origin because the idea that it is artificial is forever tainted by superstituious belief systems incomprehensible.

Comment: Re:A minority view? (Score 1) 649

To put it simply, in science classes you're taught science, and in religion classes you're taught religion. How complicated can that be?

This doesn't work because "science" and "religion" are contentious labels which dualing sides are trying to attach to or detach from ideas. Decisions need to be based on substance, not labels.

Comment: Re:A minority view? (Score 1) 649

You could just read TFA:

"[A]ny doctrine or theory which holds that natural biological processes cannot account for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on earth and therefore rejects the scientific theory of evolution."

Basically, if you claim that anything other than simple biology was at work in creating animals, then you lose your funding (and possibly right to call yourselves a school).

Evolutionists frequently express confidence that as scientific knowledge advances it will inevitably become clear by what natural processes life arose and arrived at is present diversity and complexity. They don't generally claim that this is complety clear how it happened. The standard quoted above implies either that it is already completely clear or that it is wrong to be skeptical about claims that it will soon be.

Prominant aethists such as Richard Dawkins offer us a false diacotomy. They see a choice between a naturalistic world with no god or a magical freudian god who is the product our emotional needs after molding by social and political forces. This is a false diacotomy because educated theists tend to believe in a natural world with a natural god.

Think about it this way. Is it possible that the the Earth was terraformed by an advanced extraterrestial civilization? Could bioengineers from that civilization have played a major role in producing the "present diversity and complexity" of life? Is it possible that this hypothetical civilization sent representatives to Earth on rare occasions? If you admit that this is even barely possible, then you cannot say that the core concepts of Christianity and similiar religions are illogical or impossible.

What you can argue is that it is unlikely. Scientific evidence is very relevant here. If it can be shown that evolution is highly likely to occur under favorable circumstances, then the aethists win the argument. On the other hand if it can be shown that evolution is incredibly, absurdly, unlinkely, so unlikely that belief in it is comparable to belief in magic, then the theists win. As far as I know, neither of these things has happened yet.

I agree that science class is not the place to discuss claims of divine revelation. But, it is definely the place to discuss whether life on Earth is natural or artificial. This standard quoted above forbids such discussion and requires the teaching of the views of a particular philosophical school as fact. That philisophical school may not technically be religious, but the fact that it is aligned against religion makes a mokery of the concept of separation between church and state.

Comment: Re:What??? (Score 1) 35

by Давид Чапел (#47179789) Attached to: Interviews: Jennifer Granick Answers Your Questions

Sanctity here means

I know what "sanctity" means, thank you. I'm pointing out that the word doesn't apply at all. You are using someone else's computer system (for free) who has used someone else's computer systems (for free) to gather and index someone else's data (for free), and you think there is some "sanctity" to your ability to search for it? Sorry. If Google indexes something I didn't want them to and I tell them to remove the index, that's my right, and your "sanctity" is irrelevant.

I agree that you have a right to keep search engines from indexing what is on your web servers if you want to. You as the publisher have some right to decide what to make available for public consumption. This does not violate "sanctity" of search.

But the facts in the court decision which she claims "interferes with the santity of search" are very different. They are something like this:

  • A man filed for bankrupcy
  • An article about his bankrupcy was posted on a website
  • Google indexed this website
  • People searched for his name years later and found this article
  • This caused problems for him.
  • He could not get the publisher to take the article down
  • He asked Google to exclude it from search results
  • Google refused
  • He took Google to court and got an order requiring Google to do it

So this case has nothing to do with keeping search bots off your site. It is about whether a 4th party (after the reader, the publisher, and the search engine) can elbow in and interfere with the search process. By calling this a "volation of sanctity" she is using charged language, but I can't really say she is misusing the word.

I am somewhat sympathetic to the man who brought the case. The Internet tends to prevent unflattering information from fading with time. Finding a general solution will be difficult.

We had a problem like this where I work. For several years some students published an online magazine. The old issues were archived and remain online even though the magazine is no longer published. Years later we started getting regular requests to delete articles from the archive. Often these were from the authors who did not want to be known for their youthful writings. Because web magazine has some historical significance, we were reluctant to start chopping articles out. The solution we came up with was to create robot exclusion rules which allow them to index the top page and nothing else. Now those who search for the magazine by name can still find it and read it, but it doesn't come up when the names of people mentioned in it are searched for.

It would be nice if there were a way to mark certain words in HTML as unsuitable for indexing. Maybe then he could have reached a compromise with the publisher to so mark his name. That way people who searched for information about bankrupcies in his town could still find it, but his name alone would not bring it up.

Comment: Re:In Other News... An Idiot with His Cell Phone (Score 2) 321

How is this even news? AT&T clearly publishes their international roaming rates, their international calling rates, and their international data roaming rates. Cell phones have been in existence for 40+ years. If you can't read your own calling plan nor your own contract details, and if you can't afford the roaming rates, please turn your cell phone off, and while you're at it, please turn off your tendency to flame technology news sites when you pull a dipshit maneuver.

$750 for 50mb of data transfer is highly exploitive. It is about 50 times even the usual sucker rates. It is exploitive even if most users know about it.

This is like buying a coke in an airport with a credit card expecting to pay something unreasonable such as $7 and coming home to find a bill for $750. Most people would consider that fraud even if the price had been posted on the menu.

Comment: Re:What??? (Score 1) 35

by Давид Чапел (#47154593) Attached to: Interviews: Jennifer Granick Answers Your Questions

"It interferes with the sanctity of search,

When I read that, I almost fell off my chair. Sanctity?

Sanctity here means freedom from intrusion, inviolability. Think of "the sanctity of the home". Or think of a "sanctum", a space where someone can go when he wants to be alone to think or study. Applied to search engines it is the idea that nobody should intrude upon you while you are using it. Examples of intrusion would be paid ranking, spam, and the hiding of the results you seek because someone does not want you to see them. (We could also argue that the search company intrudes on the sanctity of search if it spies on your queries.)

Note that not all manipulations of search results are intrusions. For example, the search companies frequently tweak their algorithms to better identify and lower the rank of intrusive results (spam). The search engines which did this poorly are gone now because they showed pages and pages of noise as their results. They let the sanctum became a market place filled with shouting hawkers.

Comment: Re:What he's really saying is (Score 1) 422

by Давид Чапел (#47109467) Attached to: Why You Shouldn't Use Spreadsheets For Important Work

Perfect is the enemy of good. If your workflow benefits from spreadsheets? Then just ignore the jerk in TFA which frankly smacks of elitist BS. Why the fuck should my customer NEED to use a dedicated program for each task if the work gets done fast and correct with a spreadsheet?

He doesn't say you shouldn't use spreadsheets at all. He acknowledges that they are fine for the tasks for which they were designed such as computing overall grades. What bothers him is the use of large, complicated, difficult to audit spreadsheets to make important decisions. They are difficult to audit because generally all you see is the input and the output. To see the "code" you have to poke around.

Instead he probably wants researchers to put the data into files and write small batch programs to process it and spit out results. You do not need to be a programming wiz to write programs like that. Certainly anyone who can create a large spreadsheet with formulas can learn to do it.

This approach has huge advantages. One is that humans can easily see the program and understand what it does. (If they cannot, then the results are not to be trusted.) You can also create test files containing amounts of data small enough that a human can grasp it and know what the correct result should be.

So no, this is not elitist. He is saying that if you intend to publish your results or have others verify them you should not use opaque tools just because you already know how to use them. If you can't to learn to use simple appropriate tools, why are you doing it at all?

Comment: Re:NSA is a Federal Agency (Score 1) 96

Not quite.

The supremacy clause in the constitution will require the companies, utilities, and universities to play ball. The state law will have to take a back seat because you cannot violate a law when compelled to comply with a law. Or in other words, if California law made something federal law enforces illegal, then the California law cannot be in force in conflict with the federal law.

I am sure the authors of this bill know that the feds will still be able to force the utilities and universities to comply. But to protect themselves from sanctions under state law recipients of federal orders would probably have to show that they really were forced. That might mean that they would have to go to court to oppose the federal order. If they submitted to an order which they could have gotten dismissed or narrowed, they might well be liable under state law.

In effect, the intent of this law is to motivate the holders of information to make the feds work for it. I suppose the feds could go for an injunction against its enforcement, but I am not sure they would get it. In effect they would be argueing that the law hampered them because it forced them to use only clearly justified, narrowly tailored orders in California. That would not play well.

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