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Comment Stop being mindless. (Score 1) 272 272

If you're on public land, you don't get an expectation of privacy.

I've often heard this repeated, but is it actually true?

Suppose I'm in a public space (say, a park) having a quiet conversation with someone, and keeping track of passersby: If someone walks up we stop talking.

Does this mean that someone (from the government) with a parabolic mic can eavesdrop on my conversations without a warrant?

Yes. That's exactly what it means (in the US) because that's the line the courts have upheld. There are some exceptions, based on state and local laws, but that's the federal law.

The argument is that it's only what a policeman would hear if he walked up and listened, but in that case we would stop talking.

Who made that argument? I haven't read the arguments in the cases argued before the SCOTUS, but I'd be very surprised if you can point to that argument in the court records. In fact, I suspect the problem is that you didn't realize that "Expectation of privacy" is a legal term used in discussing the fourth amendment to the US Constitution.

I have every expectation of privacy if I take steps to ensure that privacy: looking around to make sure no one can see me, for instance. Does this mean that the police can video-tape the sidewalk from the window of any office building without a warrant?

"I didn't think the cops would see me smoking crack" is not a legitimate argument in a court case. By contrast, "it was illegal for the cops to take the steps they did to get this evidence" is a legitimate argument.

I also note that there's no expectation of privacy *in your home* if you don't have the drapes closed. The implication is that we don't have an expectation of privacy *anywhere*, except in our homes and only if we're concealed.

The implication is that if the cops can see you do it without trespassing, then it can be used as evidence.

Does that sound like a free country?

Yes! What, you think prohibiting stuff makes people more free?

If you're on public land, you don't get an expectation of privacy.

In any event, we shouldn't be mindlessly repeating that meme as if it's the "law of the land". The more you say it, it only makes more people believe it.

Instead, we should be mindlessly repeating things things that sway public perception in a better direction.

Maybe repeating anything mindlessly is a bad idea. Maybe read about what expectation of privacy is here: so you don't have to come across as mindless.

Comment Re:Teach vs Learn (Score 2) 230 230

Good point. I was planning on making the opposite one, but you're absolutely right about what real AI is versus what apparent AI is.

I think both sides have valid points, and which is correct depends on the basic question of what we want from AI. If we want to interact with a system that understands us and does what we want, then just reacting the way a person would, regardless of the reasons for how it does it, is sufficient. However, if we want to have a system that does something which humans are capable of and computers currently aren't, then it isn't sufficient until a computer can do things that aren't predictable simply by understanding the programming.

Comment Re:Obsessed with keeping government out of busines (Score 1) 289 289

It's different because you can be called to court and/or have your property confiscated if you don't pay for municipal broadband and not even Comcast can do that.

I'm in favor of municipal broadband, and in one of the places where the state decided not to allow it, so I have strong feelings about the stupidity and blatant disregard for the good of the public that has been evidenced by my so called representatives.

Despite my preferences and irritation the difference between government and private enterprise is blindingly obvious.

  • Can Comcast representatives arrest you?
  • Can Verizon seize your property if you don't want to pay for their service?

The idea that

the government entity receives no unfair treatment and has to play by the same rules as every other company

has no basis in reality. Government has rights to force you to do things and private enterprise doesn't. That's what government is.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 302 302

Many times I've given a ride to someone I didn't know. Sometimes, it has been somewhere I wasn't planning to go. I've been the kind of person who doesn't ask for anything in return, but I don't think it would have been immoral (or against the law.) If I had, should I have been legally obligated to get the same insurance as a taxi company?

I suspect the reasonable difference between doing something for someone as a favor to be repaid, and doing something as a job, would be "obligation."

If I agreed to do transport because it was my job is obviously a taxi service. Compare that to agreeing to take someone somewhere with reasonable payment. There is a difference between being acting as a taxi service and being a reasonable guy. The question I have is: Does an Uber driver have an obligation or are they agreeing without obligation to do something?

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 302 302

Do they though?

A taxi is in service when they are in a company car and obligated to take work, while an Uber driver doesn't share that obligation.

That's a significant difference... but maybe I'm wrong about the difference between an Uber driver and a taxi driver. I'm interested if you have documentation you can cite to show they have the same obligations?

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 302 302

Claiming "I'm not a taxi company" while providing exactly the same services as one is disingenuous at best, and outright fraud at worst.

Do they?

I've never used Uber, and I don't have all the necessary information to make the call myself. Do taxi's have an obligation to provide a service without putting themselves "on the job" and Uber drivers have an obligation to provide service or is it only when they decide to take a job?

I suspect the problem that KS is struggling with is that taxi drivers are obligated to do things while they're in service (pick up someone) that Uber drivers aren't (they don't have to take fares.)

If there is a difference between the obligations of an Uber driver and a taxi driver, then it is reasonable to expect them to be subject to different laws, but if they have the same obligations, then it is fair to expect them to be subject to the same laws.

Does an Uber driver logging in to an app have the same obligations as a taxi driver? That's the key issue and I really am looking forward to a well documented answer.

Comment Re:Sounds completely reasonable (Score 1) 302 302

Continuing your tradition of replying to yourself with another thought: Does logging into Uber's driver app mean you're at work?

Requiring commercial insurance when you're driving a stranger for money makes sense, but I believe Uber already does that. Requiring commercial insurance when you log into an app isn't something that affects anyone but Uber. After commenting I realized the key idea here is obligation. Until I clock in at work, I don't have an obligation to work. It is reasonable that I should abide by work rules and laws concerning my work when I have an obligation to be working. When I have no obligation to be working, then it is reasonable that I don't have a legal obligation to do extra things required when I am working.

Help me out here: Does an Uber driver have an obligation to do work when they log into the app? I think it's reasonable to require commercial insurance when obligated to do work. Do Uber drivers have that obligation when they log into the App and does Kansas' new law recognize the difference between an Uber driver who isn't obligated to do work and one who does?

Comment Re:Sounds completely reasonable (Score 1) 302 302

Thanks for giving me the feeling I'm not alone in wanting to identify my governmental philosophy as libertarian but finding the general portrayal of that term distasteful.

I'm a hacker and I'm a libertarian but I'm not okay with engaging in illegal activities and I'm not okay with anarchy. By the common interpretation, if I call myself a hacker then I'm saying I'm doing something illegal and if I call myself a libertarian then I'm saying I'm against all government and law. I don't really care about the words themselves, but I do wish there were simple words to say I exercise my legally protected freedom to use the things I own to accomplish things they weren't designed for, and I believe the role of government should be to protect freedom, particularly where freedom of individuals is conflict. (I can commit murder without consequence is freedom that conflicts with the freedom of my neighbor [who has it coming] to live and make [irritating] choices.)

The role of government in my view, is to protect the public from choices people make that inhibit the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. The role of law in my view, is to make it possible to identify instances where the individual cannot be permitted freedom to make choices that will keep others from having freedom.

I think that if I were seated with the founding fathers at a table where we all had a chance to speak, they'd agree with my simple ideas and dismiss my contributions as so basic as to not warrant further discussion. If I could then spend a couple hours describing the outcomes of their decisions (and actually convince them that the future I come from is real,) then I think they would feel both proud and dismayed.

After discussing the issue KS is dealing with, I think they'd say that the idea of correcting the law so that it is applicable to everyone is noble, but the idea that people are responsible for actions that fail to directly involve participating is one that should be carefully and very specifically limited.

Logging into an app doesn't mean you're working unless it comes with an obligation to do specific work.

Comment Re:Uber cars not covered by insurance (Score 1) 302 302

I really like the choice of analogy. I've never used Uber and don't expect to anytime soon, but I'm torn between wanting people to act responsibly (have reasonable insurance) and wanting to see stupid bureaucratic laws (you're commercial because that prevents competition) improved to be understandable and reasonable.

I believe there are a lot of US citizens like me who engage in and abstain from behaviors because it is critical to our employment while we're not actively doing the work we're paid to do. I went to bed early last night because I needed to in order to perform well at my job, got up early today, and I bathed, and I stayed sober, and I drove to work and I took an elevator and I logged into my computer but only then did I start to be considered "doing my job" even though everything leading up to that point was necessary to perform my work. Up until I logged into my computer at my job, I don't think my employer would assume any liability for anything happening to me. It is at that point which I would consider myself at work and I think the law would consider me at work. If I were a chef, I don't think the definition would change at all.

Uber drivers are apparently considered to be at work by this law even before they get to the point when they're actually doing the thing they get paid to do, unlike my situation where I'm not at work until I'm actually prepared to begin doing the thing I get paid to do. That strikes me as unfair.

Sticking to the chef analogy, lets say I'm a freelance private chef, which I think is a pretty good parallel. The expectation I'd have for my job is that I'd get paid starting at the time when I arrive at my destination and am ready to begin cooking. That leaves out the drive to the location, the shopping and planning prior and any semblance of sobriety I felt obligated to maintain. Apparently if I work in Kansas as a freelance private chef, however, I'm on the hook for being on the job from the moment I open my email to see if I have any jobs today.

No job works like that. Cab drivers are on the job when they get in the company vehicle and turn on the dispatch radio, but Uber drivers aren't in a company vehicle and logging into the app is the equivalent of me checking my email.

I grok the problem Kansas is trying to resolve: Kansas requires specific things in order to participate in a market in order to keep the public safe and Uber is not participating in that market in the expected manner and so didn't expect to have to follow the rules that didn't seem to affect the parts of the market they weren't participating in. When you have a situation where the laws don't fit the behavior and you think the laws should be applicable, it is absolutely correct to modify the laws.

So I'm happy to see Kansas taking the approach they have to a problem of legal loopholes by closing the loopholes. At the same time, I'm concerned that in the process, they're also eroding the freedom to engage in commerce without an unreasonable legal burden. If the same thing happened to freelance chefs, they'd go from being able to provide a reasonable service at a reasonable price to being out of business with no gain to the public.

If an Uber driver isn't actively doing something they're paid to do, why are they forced by legislation to do something nobody else logging into an app is forced to do?

I honestly believe that the answer to my question is: This is to use the law to create an artificially high barrier to participating in this type of activity in order to protect the status quo at the cost of the public good. I'm interested to see any better explanations.

Comment Re:Silly (Score 1) 118 118


In this scenario, you have a public key and a private key embedded, you identify yourself with the public key and the validating system encrypts something with that public key, then passes you the result which you can then decrypt only by using your private key.

Ergo: "pass on a piece of information describing yourself to another party without that party having to know that information already to validate it" and also prohibiting the possibility of a replay.

The key to PKI is that you can encrypt something for me that you cannot decrypt but I can.

The wages of sin are unreported.