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Comment: Re:lol, Rand sucking up to the dorks (Score 1) 206 206

He was charged with 35 years, so you don't know what he would have received. That's what the prosecutor wanted.

The prosecutor wanted somewhere between a couple months or so (the amount they offered for a plea bargain) and a few years (the amount they were going to ask for if it went to trial).

Comment: Re:lol, Rand sucking up to the dorks (Score 3, Informative) 206 206

You're a fucking moron. How does "access without authorization" warrant a 35 year sentence?

I can't believe that after all these years there are still people who believe that Swartz faced a 35 year sentence. He did not. The algorithm the DoJ uses to get a number to trumpet in a press release ignores the rules of sentencing, and in all but the simplest of cases gives a wildly inflated number. There are two main factors that the press release algorithm ignores.

First, there is a range of possible sentences for a given crime. Where a particular instance falls on that range depends on the severity of that instance. To get the maximum, you have to have done a lot of damage, be a repeat offender, and so on. The prosecutors in the indictment were not alleging the various factors necessary to push Swartz up to the high end on any of the counts.

For the press release, they do not consider this. So if a crime might result in 1 year for someone who caused under $5k damages, and 10 years for someone who caused over $100k in damages, they will count it as 10 years in the press release, even if they are only alleging that the defendant caused $1k damages.

Second, federal crimes are divided into groups, and when one particular act leads to multiple charges from the same group, you will only be sentenced for one crime from the group even if convicted for all of them.

In the press release, they just add up the maximum sentences for each charge, completely ignoring the grouping.

Comment: Article author is confused (Score 1) 385 385

The author is confused. See this discussion on HN where a lawyer or two explain what is actually going on.

Basically, nothing is changing concerning the substantive requirements for a warrant. All that is changing is which judges can issue a warrant after the police have satisfied all the requirements of the Constitution and of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Suppose a crime took place in district X, using a computer in district Y. Before, the police would have to go to a judge in district Y. After the change, they will be able to go to a judge in district X if and only if something like TOR or VPN was used that prevents them from determining Y.

Comment: Re:Contract issue (Score 1) 153 153

There are substitutes for consideration. The magic words used to hand wave away a need for traditional consideration are "promissory estoppel" or "detrimental reliance".

I think a bigger problem for the $1000 trick would be that a court might see that as effectively a liquidated damages clause, and find it invalid because it was not chosen as a rough approximation of the actual damages likely to befall the user if Ello started running ads.

Comment: Re:Nonsense. Again. (Score 1) 432 432

What is the difference between selective breeding and genetic modification?... nothing.

Wrong. Genetic modification allows for a greater range of modification in a shorter time than can be achieved with selective breeding.

As Ben Parker wisely noted many years ago, "With great power comes great responsibility". Does our current food industry collectively have the great responsibility to wisely handle the great power of GMO? They have pretty clearly demonstrated that they do not.

Comment: Re:Just do SOMETHING (Score 4, Informative) 190 190

He was a cable lobbyist (sort of--he was head of the largest cable trade association, and that association did do lobbying among other things) 30 years ago, when cable was the underdog trying to provide an alternative to the big broadcasters, and there was no such thing as a cable ISP because the public internet did not exist yet.

He worked for the wireless trade group 10 years ago.

Also in there he founded or was a heavy investor in several companies that were more on the content provider side of things, and would be hurt by a lack of net neutrality. There is no evidence that he is any more influenced by his very old (and irrelevant to internet) cable association or his more recent but still old wireless association than by his association with those other companies that were on the content side of things.

Comment: Re:Why is sales tax based on the buyer's location? (Score 1) 165 165

Suppose I live in a state with a low sales tax and travel to one with a higher rate. I pay with a credit card, just as I would if I were at home making a payment to an online reseller. Do I get charged my home-state tax rate? NO.

It depends on the states. If you are a resident of Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, American Samoa, Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, or the Yukon Territory and you are visiting Washington, you are not charged sales tax on tangible personal property, digital goods, and digital codes purchased in Washington if they are for use outside Washington. You show the merchant picture ID that shows your address, and they ring up the sale without sales tax.

Comment: Re:Can't understand how they are still in business (Score 1) 165 165

I never bought anything from Amazon, simply because they want to charge me the additional 27% VAT of my own country, while on the Internet they should charge none and I'd pay it at the customs when it arrives. If I paid them, would they return the tax money to our government later? I don't think so.

Yes, they would turn the tax money over to your government.

Comment: Re:Could be a honest mistake from IT-people... (Score 2) 266 266

I'm in IT myself, and I know how difficult it is to come up with good test-data for your testing...so what's better than production data?

I'm not saying it is so, but it could very well be that the testers have loaded into it this years candidates, made up some likely result, and run the software to see that it works...

And apparently it did! ;)

Yup. Generally people doing election-related software have to test with data that is as similar to what will be in the live election as possible, including names of candidates and parties. See this comment in the HN discussion of this, from a developer of election reporting software that has been used in the US and other countries, for details on why and how this sort of thing can happen.

In fact, this same thing happened in the US in the 2012 Illinois Republican primary. The reporting company providing the data to many news organizations accidentally marked the test feed as live for a couple hours the day before the election, and a couple of TV station websites, which were set up to automatically publish updates from the live feed, published this.

The problem in the present case is that it took place in Azerbaijan, which has a long history of widespread corruption and election fraud. It is quite believable that someone has in fact pre-generated the actual election results, and those accidentally got pushed early.

Comment: Re:Generation Y's unusual sense of "responsibility (Score 0) 362 362

What about the prosecutor that threatened Mr. Swartz with 30 years in jail for actions that most civilized people think should have been dealt with by the University administration, or maybe by the civil courts. Was it responsible to threaten a person with 30 years in jail for disregarding an EULA?

He wasn't facing anywhere near 30 years. The prosecutors told Swartz that they thought the judge might go as high as 7 years. That was if he went to trail, lost, and the prosecutor's largest damage number was accepted. If he pled guilty, the most he was facing was 6 months. See Orin Kerr's detailed analysis.

Comment: Re:Probably not, but if it does, good (Score 2) 282 282

Technically a Linux based OS should be called GNU/Linux implying that it is a GNU OS running on top of a Linux kernel.

That's historically not accurate. Here's a cut/paste of a comment of mine from another forum on the matter of naming the system that is commonly called Linux:

Historically, naming rights for an OS go to whoever actually puts together and distributes the complete system. For instance, if a workstation company licensed Unix from AT&T and ported it to their workstation, they got to name that OS whatever they wanted. A couple examples of this were Uniplus+, which was UniSoft's Unix, and 386/ix, which was Interactive System Corporations Unix. Both were Unix systems--they used a Unix kernel and Unix utilities--but that wasn't their names. Half the fun working at a Unix workstation company in the early '80s was thinking of a neat name for your Unix port. :-)

For the complete systems distributed by Canonical, Red Hat, and the like, they are the ones who get to name the operating systems that they distribute. Ubuntu calls their OS the "Ubuntu operating system". Red Hat calls their OS "Red Hat Enterprise Linux".

Yes, they are also GNU systems, but if we want to be historically accurate, the most correct way to view this would be to view "GNU system" and "GNU/Linux" as specifications for a specific Unix-like userspace and for an OS that runs the GNU system on a Linux kernel, respectively. The Ubuntu operating system complies with the GNU system specification and is a GNU/Linux system, but it is named Ubuntu operating system.

Comment: Re:Conversion? (Score 1) 129 129

HTML works better in this case. PDF is better when you need the formatting to be the same on all the devices, but that is not the case here.

With HTML, the user can adjust the size and have the text reflow, and can separately scale all the math (see the MathJax context menu on any equation to access the math scaling settings).

For instance, the HTML edition is quite usable on even my iPhone, with my poor 50+ year old eyes. For a PDF to be usable on such a device, they would have had to format it in such a way that it would look ridiculous on a desktop system.

The rate at which a disease spreads through a corn field is a precise measurement of the speed of blight.