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Comment: Re:why does the CRTC need this list? (Score 2) 315

by debrain (#47951147) Attached to: Canadian Regulator Threatens To Impose New Netflix Regulation

One of the many cases that now clarify this topic include Easthaven, Ltd. v. Nutrisystem.com Inc., 2001 CanLII 27992 (ON SC), http://canlii.ca/t/1vz4l retrieved on 2014-09-19, which states at para. 29 (where the 'person' is referring a company whose presence was based on Internet activity in Canada):

The court held that general jurisdiction could be found in such a case [with an Internet company] only if the person was domiciled in the jurisdiction or his activities there were "substantial" or "continuous and systematic".

Jurisdiction can also arise for specific subject matter, as in the case here involving Netflix and the CRTC, by certain statute or treaty (viz. the NAFTA provisions for cultural accommodations for media). Of course a Court in Canada could just assume jurisdiction and give a paper judgment - the question then becomes whether an American court would recognize the judgment through the process called comity. With extremely rare exceptions between Canada and the USA, the Courts will recognize the judgments reciprocally.

There is also nothing stopping the CRTC from bringing an action in the USA based on violations that occurred in Canada. The applicable law may be different from the law of the jurisdiction that addresses the allegations of wrongdoing (i.e. it may be Canadian law that applies, but heard by an American Court, or vice versa). In any case an operation being abroad is not a defence from wrongdoing - notwithstanding e.g. extraterritorial immunity arising from a treaty.

Comment: Re:They are not defying an order (Score 1) 419

by debrain (#47905441) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

Actually, the judge lifted the freeze on the court order, so Microsoft is in fact defying it. Microsoft states they plan to appeal, but until they do appeal, they are still defying it.

A bit late to reply, sorry, but just a note: In almost all jurisdictions a Judge has no power to vary the stay on enforcement of an order between the time of issuance of that order and the expiry of the time to appeal. This is a fundamental principle of justice.

The power to govern the appeal process rests exclusively with an appellate Court itself (notwithstanding some extremely unusual jurisdictional crossovers, or collateral attack, neither of which being the case here).

The Judge may have lifted *some* freeze on a court order, but they almost certainly did not vary the stay of enforcement pending a possible appeal.

Comment: They are not defying an order (Score 5, Informative) 419

by debrain (#47793363) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

Notwithstanding some really rare cases (e.g. interlocutory), which this does not appear to be, an order is unenforceable while under appeal.

Doing what an order asks is grounds for dismissal of an appeal, notwithstanding cases where acts are made explicitly with the agreement of the parties and sometimes affirmation of the court to be without prejudice to the right of appeal. However in cases of disclosure of information, the disclosure is generally a form of prejudice (since it cannot be undone) that undermines appellate entitlement.

So it is wrong to say they are are defying an order. They are doing what everyone does on appeal.

If they were to defy an order they could be held in contempt of court. That would be an interesting story.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous. (Score 1) 914

Yes, precisely. The generally regarded theoretical justification for criminalization is:

1. Segregation of harmful individuals from the balance of society (aka specific deterrence); and

2. A warning to others to not commit crimes (aka general deterrence).

In other words, the point of the criminal system is on the prevention of future crimes. The only purpose of these drugs consistent with our theory of the criminal system would be if there were some repair happening in the brains of those taking the drugs, but it is apparent from the article that thought has not entered into the minds of the authors.

What is now broadly accepted by most criminal lawyers, judges and those who study criminal theory is that general deterrence is not related to the punishment at all but rather to the likelihood of being caught. In other words, having more police causes less crime. The simple reason being that consequence rarely enters into the mind of those about to commit crimes - unless there are constant reminders (i.e. police presence).

Comment: Re:And this (Score 1) 475

by debrain (#45727781) Attached to: Bitcoin Exchange Value Halves After Chinese Ban

Just an FYI, sellers of houses have offered to accept Bitcoin on at least a couple newsworthy occasions:

- http://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/developer-sell-house-bitcoin-020107308.html
- http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2013/03/alberta-man-accepting-bitcoins-in-exchange-for-home.html

A far cry from denominating mortgages, but still, it's something.

Comment: Horseshit (Score 1) 537

by debrain (#45549419) Attached to: Why Bitcoin Is Doomed To Fail, In One Economist's Eyes

Let's pick this nonsense apart.

> "Economist Edward Hadas writes in the NYT that developers of bitcoin are trying to show that money can be successfully privatized but money that is not issued by governments is always doomed to failure because money is inevitably a tool of the state.

Money is a tool of trade, valuable because it is sanctioned by its users in society. The success of money is determined only by whether people other than the holder accept it.

Bitcoin seems to be riding a hype, but doing okay just in terms of growing acceptance as a payment scheme for actual products and services.

> 'Bitcoin exemplifies some of the problems of private money,' says Hadas. 'Its value is uncertain, its legal status is unclear, and it could easily become valueless if users lose faith.'

Uncertain value and becomes useless if users lose faith? Sort of like fiat currencies? Except without "quantitative easing" causing inflation to kick the can on fiscal failures from decades of overspending.

The legal status is an open question, and a valid concern. Personally I think it's probably a red herring, but I'd keep an eye on the legal landscape if I was going deep in this.

> Besides, if bitcoin ever really started to take off, governments would either ban it or take over the system says Hadas.

How? What is his criteria for "take off"?

> The authorities might be motivated by a genuine concern about the stability of a shadow monetary system or they might act out of self-preservation because tax evasion would be too easy in a parallel economy.

Didn't this guy just say it would be less stable than official sector currencies? Anyway, tax evasion may be harder with Bitcoin since transactions are public record.

> 'Part of the interest in virtual currencies like bitcoin is that their anonymity can provide a convenient cloak for criminal activity. Part is technological â" this is a cool idea. And part is speculative â" gamblers bet that bitcoin's value will increase,' concludes Hadas.

Part of the interest in legitimate trade is that it provides a convenient cloak for criminal activity.

I think Bitcoin has less anonymity than the author asserts, and protecting privacy on Bitcoin is non-trivial for the average user.

> 'Truly private money is an inferior alternative to the money that comes with the backing of a political authority. After all, no bank or bitcoin-emitter can be as public-minded as a government, and no private power can raise taxes or pass laws to unwind monetary excesses.'"

Gold. It's private, not backed by any authority other than natural scarcity, and was the dominant reserve currency for hundreds of years before modern fiat currencies. We have only had our modern fiat currencies since Bretton Woods in 1971 years and it is already unravelling.

I'm all for valid criticisms of Bitcoin e.g. criticisms of the mathematics behind the artificial scarcity or a murky legal landscape. This guy's comments strike me as vacuous.

Comment: Re:So what'll we do with half a trillion dollars? (Score 5, Insightful) 389

by debrain (#45230445) Attached to: Autonomous Cars Will Save Money and Lives

or put another way, what'll happen when we have half a trillion dollars less economic activity? Since our entire civilization is based around getting people to trade among themselves. I just don't see all these productivity gains are ever going to make it down to my level...

Not all economic activity benefits society. Perhaps the most well known demonstration is the parable of the broken window:

The parable of the broken window was introduced by Frederic Bastiat in his 1850 essay Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas (That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen) to illustrate why destruction, and the money spent to recover from destruction, is actually not a net-benefit to society. The parable, also known as the broken window fallacy or glazier's fallacy, demonstrates how opportunity costs, as well as the law of unintended consequences, affect economic activity in ways that are "unseen" or ignored.
 

The productivity gains failing to make it to your level are arguably a problem of inequality of the distribution of wealth, not lack of economic activity.

Comment: Someone's always been listening (Score 4, Interesting) 610

by debrain (#45138787) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Isn't There More Public Outrage About NSA Revelations?

As a teenager in the 1980's I would talk to my friends on the phone about the NSA, and we would say all the words we thought would trigger surveillance review of our call. "Bomb", "terrorism", "air plane", whatever we could think of. It was a bit of a joke at the time, but on reflection it reveals an interesting vein of thought at the time.

A few things have occurred to me since then. First, I expected them to be listening. The recent "revelations" were hardly new - in the days before the Internet, in town of less than three thousand people in very rural Canada, I knew about and expected to be under surveillance under the right conditions. The NSA has since been regularly published about in popular film, at least as far back as Sneakers (1992) and Mercury Rising (1998) and other films. I think people who care have known about it for a long time.

Second, I did not expect any serious negative ramifications from our phone calls. I suppose I presumed honourable and just people were on the other end of the line, whose interests likely aligned with my own or whose actions were limited by sensible restraints on civil liberties. I think in a sense the fact that people were listening comforted me, expecting that there were good people whose sense of duty would be upheld.

All to say, it is not surprising to me that people are not up in arms. Perhaps it is apathy. Or perhaps along the lines of the reasoning I had as a teenager. Maybe something in between.

In any case, as a matter of interest, the posting for the job of Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer at the NSA seems to have been taken down. I have not heard of anyone being posted to the position, or it being squelched because of e.g. a hiring freeze in the shutdown.

Comment: Re:The Surface RT did as well... but that mean muc (Score 1) 413

by debrain (#42858983) Attached to: Surface Pro Sold Out; Was It Just Understocked?

Define "poorly." Quote numbers sold and source for your data. You don't know. I don't know. Only Microsoft knows and so far, they aren't talking.

Silence is a statement.

It is easier to be cynical of words because they offer a target. Silence leaves doubt.

Corporate marketing is a typical rational actor. Silence about an event is a statement that words are less preferable.

The event may be inchoate, the words otherwise premature, or there may be no positive spin to the event.

In this case, large consumer purchases or reseller commitments are a clutch marketing figure. Any reasonable sales figures are pro-cyclical positive spin - popularity sells.

If history repeats itself, as marketeers are wont to do, the problem is predictable: sales numbers are unspoken because they are poor.

Comment: Re:200k People! (Score 1) 190

by debrain (#42212273) Attached to: SEC Investigates Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Over Facebook Posting

Sure sounds public to me.

Me too. However maybe the SEC is trying to make a point? Is it a slippery slope - can we easily and objectively determine when a post to facebook friends not public? 200k people? 20k people? 2k? 200?

While this instance is fairly far out towards "public" on the public-private spectrum, this may be an attempt by the SEC to establish boundaries about what sort of behaviour it considers appropriate for the CEOs of large and publicly traded corporations.

Comment: Re:Bitbucket (Score 0, Troll) 218

by debrain (#42156087) Attached to: Half of GitHub Code Unsafe To Use (If You Want Open Source)

If the rumours are true, BitBucket was a blatant screen-for-screen imitation of GitHub's design:

I understand that imitation is flattering to some point and copying one or two things is cool, but BitBucket copied our website screen for screen in nearly every major aspect without asking for permission or acknowledging the theft.

If the owners of Bitbucket have no qualms about stealing GitHub's creation ... should you really trust them with yours?

I thought it was worth $7 per month to go with GitHub for this reason.

YMMV.

Comment: Re:Worse then you may think Sony did the same (Score 3, Interesting) 103

by debrain (#42050603) Attached to: Sharp Overwhelmed By Volunteers For Early Retirement

This is a fascinating post. Thank you for posting it. Not enough is written about the fall of Sony.

Incidentally, from a previous post I wrote:

The history of Sony's management is quite fascinating. I've lost the link, but I recall there being an article about Sony's decision over who to replace their then-CEO around 1999 (Norio Ohga), who had been CEO for ages and brought Sony to new economic heights. The choice of his successor was either the head of Sony Entertainment (i.e. the copyright/media side of Sony) or the head of Sony Computer (i.e. the head of the electronics side). They ended up choosing the head of the copyright/media side of Sony, Nobuyuki Idei.

Anecdotally, since that decision, I've noticed that Sony's technology shine has dropped completely off my radar (i.e. I don't even turn to them to find out what the latest and greatest tech is, whereas at one point they were certainly a contender for something that I'd consider cool), while their foray into rent-seeking for their copyright has also gone off the deep end.

I might be wrong about the details of the history - I'd be interested in finding the article again, or having the background.

If it's true, I believe the change in the "personality" or "culture" of Sony reflects the decision that they made to make the head of their copyright/media division the head of the company. I believe their shareholders have been paying for that decision ever since.

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