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Comment: Re:probably a fair sentence (Score 1) 100

by gstoddart (#49823751) Attached to: Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison, and ...

"He didn't sell any actual drugs, he just ran the site for people who did."

IANAL, but that sounds like racketeering to me

OK, let's go with an extreme version of this in a thought experiment.

Say I buy a bunch of stuff from eBay which the seller and I wink at one another and say "why no, this isn't stolen" ... is eBay guilt of racketeering?

Americans like to talk about the free market, so does providing a marketplace for people to exchange goods automatically provide culpability for crimes?

What about Craigslist or Backpage? There's definitely some shady stuff which happens there, are they liable?

Lawyers and CEOs conspire to break laws en masse all the time, but I don't see any of them being charged.

Federal law agencies are collectively committing perjury in the form of "parallel construction". Is that racketeering?

Hell, the meltdown of 2008 was caused by companies laundering bad debt (that they chose to give in the first place), getting the ratings agencies to sign off on it as AAA debt, and pawning it off on some other suckers ... and half the people here said "well, caveat emptor". Arguably those clowns caused far more damage than Silk Road did.

So, what is the threshold here? Is it uniformly applied? Or do we seem to selectively say that some people are more culpable than others for the same act?

I'm inclined to think there is a little selectivity being applied here.

Comment: Re:Missing option (Score 2) 100

by gstoddart (#49823651) Attached to: Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison, and ...

Do you debate that it happened?

I have no idea if it happened or not ... I'm saying you can't sentence someone based on things you allege they did but never charged or proved.

Otherwise prosecutors could make any old shit up, not prove it, and sentence people based on unproven innuendo.

And if that's the case, then America really needs to stop thinking of itself as a free society with a legal system which isn't about political persecution instead of actual facts.

Comment: Re:Too hard to use (unfortunately) (Score 1) 114

by budgenator (#49823627) Attached to: Facebook Now Supports PGP To Send You Encrypted Emails

One advantage would be that right now only high value information is encrypted, so the opposing entities can assume that anything encrypted is high value info. Encryption works because it keeps the cost of decrypting higher than the value of the information, if all of the crap flying was encrypted then the cost of getting the high value info would skyrocket so my sales presentation would be more secure from industrial spies because "Mary found a lost lamb on her farm" notices are encrypted too.

Comment: Re: In other words (Score 1) 277

by Obfuscant (#49823563) Attached to: Netflix Is Experimenting With Advertising
The only advertisements cable tv providers put on the content are in slots called "local avails" -- locally available ad slots. It's why you can see an ad for a local company on a national cable service. If the cable company didn't use that time, you're going to see a national ad from the content provider anyway.

Comment: Re:Missing option (Score 2) 100

by gstoddart (#49823385) Attached to: Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison, and ...

Dang do you read anything? He was soliciting murder for hire and other charges

Do you? Because he wasn't convicted of that, and the charges were dropped.

Are you suggesting you should sentence people based on the things you didn't charge them with and didn't prove?

Because you're an idiot if you are.

Comment: Re:Missing option (Score 1) 100

by gstoddart (#49823329) Attached to: Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison, and ...

To me that is worth 20 years. Life should only be used as an alternative to the death penalty, not a as 'really stiff sentence'.

To me this is more to show other people who might be tempted to do something that the politically motivated criminal charges for anything to do with drugs will be brought against you.

And, besides, you have to keep your for-profit prison industry (which uses people as effectively slave labor) filled up with people to maximize shareholder value.

Don't for a minute think this has anything to do with "justice", so much as "politics, vengeance, retribution, and cheap labor".

There's huge amounts of profits which would be lost if penalties weren't like this.

The crooks on Wall Street profit from the incarceration of people who have done far lesser crimes.

And the prison system in the US is as much about politics and profits than anything else.

Surely you don't think you live in a just society, do you?

Comment: Re:Good ruling (Score 1) 142

Thanks! You may also like this comment where I talk more about the issue of defining true threats.

One thing in the comment to which you responded I believe is unclear.

"True threats" are not constitutionally protected. They never have been, never will be. "I can say whatever I want" ends when a reasonable person hearing what you say becomes afraid for their safety.

I'm mixing a general principle ("in society we don't want people to be able to make people legitimately fear for their lives") with a specific legal term "true threat," and it may seem like I was defining it, and I didn't mean to.

And I didn't quite get into it specifically in the post I just linked. But a "true threat" is not clearly defined and can mean slightly different things in different jurisdictions. But one thing it is definitely NOT is what I said about "the reasonable person hearing what you say." That makes it sound like a subjective test, that it matters what the person who was "threatened" thinks. In fact it's an objective test. A "true threat" does not have a consistent definition, but is likely one that an objectively reasonable person would believe is a serious expression of intent to do harm.

It has to be that way because otherwise the standard of behavior would be whatever the most sensitive people in society find threatening. Plus it would make for a screwy dynamic between the threatened and the threatening, essentially putting the power of prosecution in the hands of the victim rather than the state.

For instance, in the whole "GamerGate" fiasco, Brianna Wu says she was "driven from her home" by death threats on twitter. Should the asshole who sent her those ever be caught, I would hope his prosecution (if any) would be based on what a reasonable person would do in response to an anonymous threat on twitter, and not on what Wu would or did do.

Still, the whole case is interesting because people who don't read the articles seem to think they ruled on whether or not rap lyrics posted to FaceBook are threatening or not, and think that by overturning his conviction they've affirmed that they are not, and "ruled in favor of free speech." But they didn't. They barely touched on it, basically agreeing that what he did cannot be definitively said to be protected speech. It's kind of odd, I think they're tying the objective test for "true threat" with the mens rea of the threatener, and I don't think they should be.

Elonis thinks his intent should matter, and since he intended no harm, he made no threat. But how can the "reasonable objective observer" be expected to determine his true intent from his apparent intent? If the test is "would a reasonable person believe this is a serious expression of intent to do harm" then his actual intent doesn't matter. But (ignoring the travesty of criminal violation of strict liability regulations) we generally don't punish those who make innocent mistakes. So mens rea should always be important. But why make the objective reasonable observer determine the mens rea component of the crime? A convincing, but accidental death threat is still a threat, should not be a crime.

For instance, what if Elonis had, instead of posting words about murdering his ex-wife on FaceBook, had emailed them directly to her? How could an objectively reasonable person not think a graphic description of their death at the hands of a furious ex-spouse delivered directly to them constitutes a true threat?

But what if it were sent on accident? Pulled up the email client, poured his bile into it, but then instead of clicking "delete" he accidentally clicked "send" instead? I think that's even a piece of advice I've seen from therapists (or random people on the internet). When you're mad at somebody, write them a nasty letter and then tear it up. Should he be punished criminally for that? While yes, it's definitely a threat any reasonable person would take seriously, it was not communicated with intent to terrorize. So no mens rea, no crime?

Obviously it would be up to the jury to determine if the sender did so "accidentally" or not.

So, a jury could be asked two questions: 1) Is this a communication a reasonable person would think was a serious threat to do harm in this context, and 2) what was the state of mind of the speaker? Did they intend to threaten? Threaten recklessly? Negligently? Accidentally?

Would that be reasonable?

In this case I would think 1) a reasonable person would take these as true threats. I probably would. Lots of people who knew him did. At the least I would find it impossible to say "a reasonable person couldn't take this seriously." And then 2) I would say he communicated somewhere between negligently and recklessly. He clearly knew people were taking his words seriously and continued making them. But, he also made posts explicitly stating that he was not serious. He seemed to think that was good enough. That shows that while he knew his actions were being taken seriously, he cared, and took steps to mitigate damage. If he hadn't, that would have been reckless (knew people were being terrorized and didn't care). If he honestly believed that would assuage people's fears, then he's an idiot, but that's not a crime, and his actions were merely negligent, because a reasonable person should know that's not good enough.

And I don't think such a standard would change much, but would add clarity. It would still be illegal to make jokes about bombs at an airport because it would be a threat a reasonable security agent MUST take seriously, and ANY traveler knows this, and instructions about not saying such things are clearly posted. So "I was joking!" doesn't fly in that case. You knew what the response would be, and did it anyway, so your actions were intentional.

Comment: Re:Missing option (Score 2, Insightful) 100

by gstoddart (#49823175) Attached to: Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison, and ...

but life in prison for selling drugs on a website?

I'm sorry, but have you not been paying attention to US drug laws?

With three strikes laws and mandatory sentencing, isn't it possible to be sentenced to life in prison for possessing a joint?

Sorry, but when your drug laws are so horribly broken, founded in ideology and not actual medical fact (eg the definition of "narcotic") ... what the hell do you expect?

You can commit a whole slew of crimes for which the penalty is much less than marijuana "crimes" will get you.

Because apparently throwing people in jail for life for smoking weed sells well with someone's political base, even if it's based on nothing but irrational hysteria, lies, and ideology.

If anything, that's an awfully bad precedent

Dude, it's not even a precedent. Between laws which make "with a computer" full blown felonies and the state of the US drug laws ... this is just the combination of the two latest bogeymen.

Yes, sure, other drugs were also sold.

But I'm pretty sure you could get life in prison for selling pot on Facebook, because you'd be teh unimaginable ebil.

This is decades in the making.

Comment: Re:Is there a difference? (Score 3, Insightful) 69

The obvious explanation is that they are understaffed.

My "obvious explanation" is the Canadian carriers added their own crap, and now we're not considered a big enough market to fix it.

I don't need to blame LG. My first thought on reading that was "yeah, that's entirely due to carriers putting their own shit on the phones".

Some devices are carrier locked. Some have crapware put there by the carrier.

This isn't the first time I've seen this with phones here.

Comment: Re:Is there a difference? (Score 4, Insightful) 69

"You can blame your screwy Canadian carriers for this."

Don't know if parent is trolling or not, but I had a similar thought.

As a Canadian, I will 100% concur this has a good chance of being the carrier.

My HTC Desire has a lot of stuff which was put on it by the carrier (Rogers) -- some of which I can disable but not delete.

It may well be that LG has decided they don't want to muck around with carrier specific crap. Which is why I think it should be illegal to have carrier specific crap in the first place.

A decade or so ago a co-worker did some testing with his Motorolla Krazr. It turns out the way Rogers had done the internet stuff was to push you through their proxy (with a lot of extra overhead), and which had the net effect of about doubling your data usage so that they could measure you and bill you for it. And this was when data usage was in KB.

Rogers are complete greedy bastards who put a lot of crap on phones to benefit themselves.

Comment: Re:Did Blackberry invent the QWERTY keyboard (Score 1) 55

Ignoring how we feel about patents ... this patent exists, the link I gave was the first one I saw which explained the way in which they were similar, and that those similarities are quite prominent on things you wouldn't do by random.

This is more than just "someone else made a keyboard".

And if you 100% copy someone else's design, I can see why they'd be unhappy about it.

Now that I've read through that, I can see BB had some pretty valid points. And if you could make things which looked exactly like someone else's product, that could be misleading.

The curvature of those keys was pretty darned specific.

10 to the 6th power Bicycles = 2 megacycles