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Comment: Re:To the point... (Score 3, Informative) 147

by mjtaylor24601 (#46728807) Attached to: 'weev' Conviction Vacated

neither Auernheimer nor his co-conspirator Spitler performed any “essential conduct element” of the underlying CFAA violation

If that's not a 'not guilty' by a court that's not passing actual judgement, I don't know what is.

Not that I have a particular opinion on the specifics of this case but I think you may have truncated that quote a few words to early

Because neither Auernheimer nor his co-conspirator Spitler performed any “essential conduct element” of the underlying CFAA violation in New Jersey, venue was improper

I read that to mean "no crime was committed in New Jersey" not "no crime took place".

Comment: Re:Bitcoin (Score 1) 263

In other news, CEO of a multi-million dollar crypto-currency bank/trading house decides to gather information for a few days before halting trading based on a suspicion that something might be wrong.

Oh, wait...

It doesn't bother you at all that it took several days of information gathering for the CEO of a multi-million dollar crypto-currency bank/trading house to discover that there were wide scale, systemic issues with his crypto-currency trading business?

Comment: Re:Keeping the peasants in line (Score 1) 362

by mjtaylor24601 (#46382623) Attached to: Google Funds San Francisco Bus Rides For Poor

The Lords of Google have been forced pay attention because the peasants are actively resisting the annexation of the formerly free city of San Francisco by the Sovereign Realm of Google. The Realm needs to annex the city for housing for it's ever expanding noble classes

<sarcasm>Yeah how dare Google pay its employees well! And where do they get off providing a perk that makes their employee's commutes less onerous while simultaneously taking cars off the road, reducing traffic congestion and air pollution for everyone! I mean who do they think they are!! Certainly a Nazi-esque bit of "evil" if I've ever seen one.</sarcasm>

Comment: Re:Took them long enough... (Score 0) 934

Sure... many would say "at least if I can see the gun I know it's there and who to avoid"... to which I'd say "So? If you live your life in such terror of not knowing who might be carrying a weapon and who might not be... not only are your priorities off, but you really need to see help with your anxiety issues".

But being so terrified and anxiety filled that I feel the need to carry a deadly weapon with me at all times is still OK right?

Comment: Re:Trust (Score 2) 174

by mjtaylor24601 (#45619585) Attached to: FSF Responds To Microsoft's Privacy and Encryption Announcement

Agreed. But then there are the follow up considerations of

a) Is it the case that open source software is in fact being subject to subjected to scrutiny by independent experts? I would say that certainly some of it is, but I would hazard a guess that not all of it is.

b) How does an uninformed laymen differentiate between an "independent expert" and a "random stranger on the internet". In the absence of doing actual research it's much easier for people outside the field to simply trust the blue chip fortune 500 company.

In my (admittedly casual) experience, such arguments by the FSF rarely get into this level of detail, which causes people that don't really grok the whole open source thing, or people that are cynical about open source in general or the FSF in particular, to question whether the FSF is actually concerned with security or whether they are simply using this as an excuse to push their ideological agenda.

Comment: Re:Trust (Score 3, Insightful) 174

by mjtaylor24601 (#45618823) Attached to: FSF Responds To Microsoft's Privacy and Encryption Announcement

As far as I can tell, the counter-arguments against FSF's position boil down to "well I trust {Microsoft, Google, Apple, Oracle} anyway, so there!" and "who cares if you can trust your computing infrastructure anyway, get over it!" If you have something more to add to those illuminating arguments, please do so.

In fairness I think the counter argument is a little more nuanced than you're representing it. It's more along the lines of: non-programmers are in no position to verify that things have been done correctly even if the program is open source. And even experienced programmers can't, as a practical matter, be expected to meticulously review the millions of lines of code that goes into the various programs they use, nor are they likely to build all of their own software from source all the time. So realistically, even if the software is open source you still have to trust some else to verify it. All open source does is change who the person is that your'e trusting from Microsoft to $YOUR_FAVOURITE_FREE_SOFTWARE_GROUP.

Now perhaps you trust the general open source community more than you trust Microsoft (or Google or Apple or whoever). That's perfectly fine. But I can certainly see how a reasonable person could look at that position and go "why should I trust random strangers on the internet if I'm not willing to trust Microsoft?". Now perhaps that's not good argument. But I think it's at least a little bit more substantive than the strawman you've presented.

Comment: Re:Yes. (Score 1) 1216

by mjtaylor24601 (#45503321) Attached to: Should the US Copy Switzerland and Consider a 'Maximum Wage' Ratio?

The free market is what people do when no-one is holding a gun to their head to force them to do something else.

By that definition it would be a function of the free market for me to break into your house and steal all your stuff, in the absence of a police force to put a gun to my head and stop me.

Comment: Re:Recurring theme? (Score 2) 346

Kind of depends what you're trying to trace. When people talk about traceable financial transactions they're generally interested in identifying the people involved in the transaction not the individual monetary units.

eg the police could give a @!#% that the $100 bill with serial number 12345 was used to buy drugs. What they want to know is that Bill bought $100 worth of drugs.

In that sense bitcoin is good for untraceable financial transactions since (as far as I understand such things) the best we can determine is that anonymous bitcoin user #2627577 transferred 100 BTC to anonymous bitcoin user #820998.

Comment: Re:Virus scanning is a service (Score 1) 325

Just because it's free doesn't make it right. Also, the other 'free' email service providers don't scan the content of the emails to create a profile of you.

Doesn't make it wrong either. My point was only that it was possible for users to derive value from it, as the GPs argument seemed to be that scanning the users email was OK so long as the user was benefiting.

Now perhaps other free email services don't scan your email (although maybe they do and they're just not as up front about it), but I personally think that's something the free market can sort out. I remember what free web mail services were like before GMail and personally I'm glad that Google got into the mail business because I think that their service is much better. And personally I'm quite happy to let Google's robots scan my mail to decide what adds to show. I consider that a small price to pay in exchange for an excellent free mail service.

However, I certainly recognize that that opinion is entirely my own subjective value judgement and that other people may not share it. That's perfectly fine. I would suggest that those people go ahead and not use GMail (rather than trying to have it outlawed so that I can't use it). I also recognize that there are some people that are concerned that even mail they send to other GMail users or that is just forwarded by Google's mail servers might also be scanned. I would suggest that those people might want to reconsider what they're sending over email and/or their use of email entirely, as, if they don't trust Google to handle this data responsibly, I don't know why they would trust any of the dozen or so other third parties that might handle their email in transit.

Comment: Re:Virus scanning is a service (Score 4, Insightful) 325

Virus scanning is a service a provider can deliver to its customers.

Scanning mails for the benefit of the provider for advertising is not beneficial to the customer.

...except in so far as it allows the service provider to make a profit thereby enabling the customer to get access to the service for free.

Comment: Re:Time to unlock my wifi (Score 1) 214

by mjtaylor24601 (#44820735) Attached to: Court Declares Google Must Face Wiretap Charges For Wi-Fi Snooping

If I recall my intro-to-business-law-101 class from many years ago, the general goal of civil law is not to reward the victim or to punish the wrong-doer but to redress the damages done to the former by the latter. That is, you broke the law and harmed me in some way, so at the end of the law suit I should be back in the same position I would have been in had the law-breaking never occurred.

This means that, generally speaking you, have to demonstrate (based on a preponderance of the evidence) that not only did someone break the law, but also that you were harmed by it in some way. It's this second criteria that I you would have trouble proving.

I would expect that in your hypothetical case the court would reason as follows: Yes X number of people had "intercepted" your WIFI signals. Amount of damage you suffered as a consequences: None. Award in favour of the plaintiff in the amount of $0. Congratulations you just wasted a bunch of money in legal fees.

Now perhaps there are statutory damages involved (damages specifically laid out in the law that apply regardless of actual harm suffered by the victim, although I'm not aware of any that apply in this case). You might also make an argument for punitive damages (damages explicitly intended to push the law breaker rather to redress actual harm done to the victim, and what I assume is being sought in the case against Google, although I haven't been following it closely), however I think it would be hard to argue that such would apply to the people in your hypothetical court room as they hadn't knowingly connected to your WIFI, or at least certainly hadn't done so with malice intent.

Comment: Re:Oh, really? (Score 3, Insightful) 1255

by mjtaylor24601 (#44736559) Attached to: Why One Woman Says Sending Your Kid To Private School Is Evil

It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools.

That's a pithy aphorism, but really it's complete bull sh&*t. If you asked a carpenter to build you a house using nothing but a butter knife and a rock, what kind of results do you'd think you'd get? What do you think the "craftsman" would have to say about his tools?

Do public school teachers have adequate tools to do their jobs? I don't know. I'm not a teacher nor am I involved in education any way. But I do think that telling teachers that its solely their fault if students fail, no matter what the actual circumstances might be, is just absurd.

Comment: Re:Congress upset someone is lying to them? (Score 1) 295

by mjtaylor24601 (#44102829) Attached to: US Senators: NSA Lies In Fact Sheets

Precisely this. The text of the second amendment clearly states "shall not be infringed". It takes some serious mental gymnastics to interpret that to mean "shall not be infringed unless such infringement is reasonable or warranted".

Well the 2nd amendment also clearly states "well regulated militia" and IMHO it takes some non-trivial mental gymnastics to interpret that to mean everyone, everywhere, all the time, regardless of reason. To me that's the danger of attempting to blindly follow the wording of the law without considering the broader context of what what the law was trying to accomplish.

Constitution is a "living document" should not mean that black can mean white, or that up can mean down

But does "well regulated militia" mean everyone? Just the national guard? Should the neighborhood watch count? I think as a practical matter some level of interpretation is always going to be necessary because it will be virtually impossible to so fully specify a law that it becomes completely unambiguous in all circumstances, especially when you start considering how various laws, passed separately, might interact. Of course that doesn't mean that the Supreme Court (or anyone else) should be just allowed to "interpret" the law to mean whatever they fell like. You need to strike a balance.

I've been a gun owner my whole life, but we really, really need to repeal the second amendment. We can't have people running around with nukes, and we can't infringe on people's right to bear arms unless we either A) amend the constitution or B) ignore the constitution.

That seems like a highly rational position to me. I've always found most pro-gun advocates to be a little hypocritical when it comes to the 2nd amendment. They're fine with government infringement when it comes to non-gun types of "arms" but as soon it's applied to guns all of a sudden the 2nd amendment is sacrosanct. Either some types of arms are too dangerous to be allowed in civilian hands (and in that case the debate we should be having is whether or not guns meet that threshold) or any regulation of any kind is unconstitutional (in which case we should be arranging to have a constitutional amendment because virtually everyone agrees that some level of arms regulation is necessary).

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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