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Comment: Re:Reporters without borders? (Score 3, Informative) 37

by erikkemperman (#49241435) Attached to: Reporters Without Borders Unblocks Access To Censored Websites

Yeah, it's not actually that clear in this case: the Saudi regime for instance, most evil theocracy on the planet and great friends of the U.S., do not get a pass from these guys, as your theory would predict.

And the U.S. themselves only rank around #30 on their Press Freedom Index, last time I checked. But that is compiled from reports by actual journalists in the field, IIRC, so might be more difficult for them to doctor.

Comment: Re:Reporters without borders? (Score 3, Interesting) 37

by erikkemperman (#49241323) Attached to: Reporters Without Borders Unblocks Access To Censored Websites

Because Reporters Without Borders is an organization of considerably more dubious repute than the similarly named Doctors Without Borders. For one thing Otto Reich was involved, and besides State Dept there are very persistent accusations of ties with Western intelligence outfits. They were active in propaganda campaigns all over South America, Cuba in particular.

Comment: FOIA (Score 5, Insightful) 609

by erikkemperman (#49232445) Attached to: Clinton Regrets, But Defends, Use of Family Email Server

Seems to me the reasons for her decision to use a private server for government business are pretty simple. It means that she (and her staff) get to decide which documents should be forked over in response to FOIA requests.

In a just world this server would now at an independent expert for thorough inspection.

Same thing for congressional oversight. Case in point: Benghazi.

Also, it keeps all of her correspondence out of the official protocols. She wants to delete some stuff? No problem. That would be more complicated if she had used her government-issued means of communication.

I seem to remember from earlier incidents (like the hack of Sarah Palin's personal mail) that this is *not legal*. For good reasons.

Finally, it is basically a given that some of her correspondence contains sensitive, if not outright secret, information. If someone like Thomas Drake gets threatened with ridiculous punishment for having *un*classified information on his home PC, surely this here should land Mrs Clinton in a whole lot of trouble. But, well, who am I kidding, right?

Comment: Re:Lots of weird crap coming out of Congress latel (Score 1) 517

by erikkemperman (#49187573) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

The point is they were widely being used before being scrutinized.

Some of the compounds listed in that report (which I don't think claims to be exhaustive) are known or suspected carcinogens. Depending on the local geology, much of them stay in the ground -- never mind that the fossil fuel lobby argued otherwise when they managed to prevent EPA from regulating fracking.

Comment: Re:Lots of weird crap coming out of Congress latel (Score 5, Informative) 517

by erikkemperman (#49187095) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills


Requiring EPA to use publicly available data sound reasonable enough until you realize that many of these same (mostly GOP) people have no problem with (often times heavily subsidized) companies refusing to share data.

Like the fracking example parent mentioned; nobody is able to research their methods and the compounds used, because trade secrets. Something similar happened with GM crops, which have been widely planted for over a decade before the scientific community at large were able/allowed to research them.

"Seeking to remake the membership and procedures" is just code for subverting, eroding, EPA until it is a hollow shell of what it was intended to be.

Comment: Re:why start after the fact? (Score 1) 219

Sorry, late reply and not much time... Just wanted to point out that yes there are cases where unarmed folks are a real threat (Chuck Norris et al, or the severely deranged or psychotic, say due to substance abuse).

But mostly the mere fact that LEO are armed should be sufficiently threatening to subdue and solicit cooperation of unarmed individuals. So when shots are fired in such circumstances it merits rigorous scrutiny via a transparent investigation.

Second, the Grand Jury system as I understand it is a bit of a quirky thing, discarded in most places except the U.S. It was meant as a protection of the public from excessive use of executive power, but arguably used in cases such as Ferguson to the opposite effect. Why not simply a regularly prosecuted case?

Finally, your argument that bodycams will mean that "friendly" and informal police actions like letting people off with warnings for minor offenses... That is a good thing. Because it is arbitrary judgment on the part of the officer in question, as to what constitutes "minor" and when to exercise such leniency, and as such is subject to bias. That you would mention this suggests to me you probably don't belong to a group regularly considered victims of the corollary "bad" kind of police bias.

Comment: Re:why start after the fact? (Score 3, Insightful) 219

They probably try to avoid torturing with Tasers. This happens when the Taser is activated multiple times or for extensive durations (e.g. 3 minutes, causing death)

Well, torture is certainly something that we'd want to avoid... But I agree with someone further up, this trigger for recording misses the circumstances leading up to the event. Was the person actually a threat? is one of the important questions that remain unanswered. Technically the continuously overwritten ring buffer seems hardly more difficult to implement.

Btw, I found this turn of phrase in the story a bit unsettling:

unfair intrusion into their routine activities

Tasering is a routine activity now? I would hope not, although it is better than discharging live rounds at unarmed kids of course.

Comment: Re:crooks done by crooks (Score 1) 37

by erikkemperman (#48501487) Attached to: Cyber Ring Stole Secrets For Gaming US Stock Market

if there were no losses to common folk I would welcome this development.

The ways in which common folk will suffer losses from this type of corporate sabotage, e.g. that institutional investors such as pension funds are "required" to be a part of the stock casino and dodgy derivative financial contraptions, is another discussion. Worth having, imho.

More on topic, perhaps, FTS:

According to the report FireEye the victims include financial services firms and those in related sectors, including investment bankers, attorneys and investor relations firms.

I wonder whether the perpetrators are not at some remove employed by much the same demographic as the victims...

Comment: Re:Waiving data charges is fine with net neutralit (Score 2) 134

by erikkemperman (#48473575) Attached to: Wikipedia's "Complicated" Relationship With Net Neutrality

Exactly. But they don't.

The problem is that what FB, Google are currently presenting as "aid" or "development" for underprivileged regions is 1) restricted to their own services and 2) likely to be shut down in the near future on their whim.

If they are serious about development, that's great, but it seems to me there are far less self-interested avenues for them to do so.

Meanwhile these zero-rate programs are just another attempt at re-defining The Internet to be what they have on offer, and probably end up getting in the way of more general availability of the web.

Comment: Re:Elections are Popularity Contests (Score 3) 72

by erikkemperman (#48416217) Attached to: How Facebook Is Influencing Who Will Win the Next Election

Not sure I'd agree that nobody cares about policy. But "rightfully so"? Because different faces, or parties for that matter, tend to pursue similar policies? It seems to me that that is a good reason that people /should/ care... And try to improve on that sorry state of affairs.

Problem is that there is whole show about (relatively) minor differences of opinion and these are greatly exaggerated, creating the illusion of real choice. Whereas the various "faces" somehow wind up agreeing with one another on exactly those policies that the people they supposedly represent do not favour.

A two-party system is in practice much more like a single-party system (ie not democratic) than it is like multi-party systems where coalition and compromises are required to achieve majorities.

"Life sucks, but it's better than the alternative." -- Peter da Silva