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Comment: Re:Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 87

by j-beda (#49194127) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

Some of us have worked on the ISP side of the house (disclosure: I worked for a small one that was crushed by Time Warner a long time ago) and view the Netflix debacle in a different light. Netflix has a history of trying to pass their costs onto third parties, by abusing settlement free peering, pushing their "Open Connect" devices on ISPs without offering to pay the usual co-location expenses, or trying to cheap out on envelopes that wound up jamming in sorting machines and causing USPS all manner of difficulties. That one turned into a major spat as I recall, with USPS having to threaten to revoke their bulk mailing/pre-sort price discounts before Netflix was willing to back down.

The long standing model for internet traffic has been sender pays. If you're dumping more traffic into my network than you take off my hands you pay me to get it closer to its destination. If you're taking more off my hands than I'm taking from you then I pay you. In the final example, we exchange roughly equal amounts of traffic and agree to do so without remuneration.

Is that model still valid today? It's hard to say. It did build the internet as we know it today, for better or worse. It would be easier for me to be sympathetic if this wasn't a pissing contest between Netflix and ISPs. The arrogance of Netflix is truly astounding, from my perspective as someone who worked in the ISP business, and I see it as billionaires arguing with other billionaires about who should foot the bill for their respective business models.

I'm confused. Netflix dumps their traffic onto the interwebs through some sort of ISP (paying them for the privledge), don't they? And when that ISP interconnects with my ISP they do the "sender pays" sfuff you talk about. Then my ISP gets it to me. How is Netflix doing something wrong here? Was their ISP not paying their internconnection bills?

I thought what happened was that Comcast acting as my ISP realized that they could throttle the Netflix traffic and extort money out of Netflix beyond what Netflix's ISP was already paying them to carry the traffic. That seems unjust. As a customer of this ISP, shouldn't I be able to decide what data I want to access, without the providers of that data needing to pay extra fees to reach me?

Comment: Re:beware of FATCA (Score 1) 568

by j-beda (#49193961) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Take a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... . My spouse is American, though we're lived in Canada for 16 years and are raising our kids here. The new tax implications are a serious issue. I know 1 person who has renounced their U.S. citizenship due to the new tax implications, and I'd love for my spouse to do the same to simplify our tax situation and prevent the U.S. from making a grab at our Canadian retirement savings.

Personally, I'm not hurrying to register our children with the U.S. to secure U.S. citizenship.

Keep in mind that the US law on the subject does not require registration to "secure" their US citizenship. As the children of a US citizen, they ARE US citizens (provided at least one of their US parents was born in the US or resided there for a certain amount of time - thus your grandchildren might not automatically be US citizens). Not registering your kids does not protect them from the US considering them to be citizens and thus subject to all this non-resident stuff that is so problematic.

Possibly, in your case, registering the kids while they are young and it is relatively easy to do might be better than trying to get all the documentation done when they are older. I do not doubt that it would be possible to get hit by a huge bill from the IRS while at the same time being denyed entry into the country due to lack of documentation of US citizenship. The multitude of different parts of a government don't always behave in a consistent manner. Presumably your wife is already familiar with the various tax reporting requirments, so as the kids get older they should be taught what she has already learned. Most of the biggest issues turn up due to being suprised by the requirements and not filing them properly.

Comment: Re:Hmmm (Score 1) 568

by j-beda (#49193905) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Keep in mind they are only responsible for filing for taxes if the income's in the United States and their residency is 50% or more in the United States. AND YES they DO keep tabs on that kinda stuff.

Yes they do keep tabs on this sort of thing, but unfortunately US citizens regardless of their residency, are required to file taxes each and every year as long as their income is above whatever the threshold is for residents of the US - virtually every adult citizen falls under this requirment.

In addition to filing taxes, just the requirement for reporting foreign financial accounts can also be pretty onerous, with pretty low thresholds. Once you have a few years of retirement savings, you've probably hit that requirment (the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year). And if you were the treasurer of your local social club or somehow had signing authority of an account that wasn't your own? That counts too.

While this is listed in the "small business" section of the IRS website - it applies to everyone:

Then there is Form 8938 - slightly higher thresholds but still pretty low:

If you don't file? Penalties of "up to the greater of $100,000 or 50 percent of account balances; criminal penalties may also apply" if they decide it was willful.

Comment: Re:Have you talked it over with them? (Score 1) 568

by j-beda (#49193773) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

NO, parents make decisions for their kids when they are too young to do so. This is an adult decision and its best to leave them out. If you want to ask them which parent they want to live with sure, but not everything.

If the decision need not be made until the 18th birthday, making it before talking to the person it effects seems a bit premature. Talking to someone aobut their future in their mid to late teens is certainly justified. If you think your 17 year old shold be left out of decisions of this nature, then I would argue that you are doing something wrong.

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 568

by j-beda (#49193751) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

But they won't let you keep old citizenship if you decide to become a citizen of the USA.

I've seen it happen a lot.

But "renouncing your foreign citizenship" in front of a US judge does what exactly? If any of those people went back to their "old" country, would that country say they were not a citizen? For most places on earth, the answer is that the "birth country" doesn't care what you might tell another country, and untill you tell them that you don't wanna be part of the team, you're still on the team.

The US has no ability to remove your foreign citizenship, and no mechanism to require it, and US court decisions recognizing the retention of foreign citizenship. Some references to court cases are on Wikipedia


With all that said, the US also has no reqirement to recognize the foregn citizenship of any US citizen.

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 1) 323

I don't understand. They log into your phone and look at pictures of your going away party. They look at the emails with subject lines like "First Day at new Job Instructions."

Then they turn to you and say "Are you *really* here on vacation?"

"Officers search the traveller's cell phone:"


Not sure how "supersonic eye laser beams" enter into it.

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 1) 323

the difference is that there cannot be any contraband , explosive or whatever illegal stuff stored in the phone. which is what custom agent are paid to check.

US CBP and Canadian CBSA are also enforcing immigration. It's typically these violations that they're looking for on your phone - e.g. you claim to be on vacation, but your phone is full of emails from your new employer with details on your new job or your upcoming marriage.

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 1) 323

Inspecting physical goods has the reasonable objective of preventing smuggling

That's too broad, though.

Inspecting physical goods might reveal immigration fraud (a letter of employment in the hands of someone 'on vacation') or financial fraud (wire transfer documents etc.)

In these cases, it's really no different from examining a phone. The rule is simple: Either the border officers can 'look in your stuff' or they can't.

All the evidence concerning the universe has not yet been collected, so there's still hope.