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Comment Re:You know, you can buy an unlocked phone (Score 1) 317

Except that the DMCA says nothing about contracts, and even if your contract expires or is canceled you cannot just bring your phone to some random store to get it unlocked (only stores run by your carrier, and only as long as they feel like providing you that service), nor can I legally tell you how to or provide you with the tools needed to unlock your phone. How is that not privileged treatment for the cell carrier?

Comment Re:You know, you can buy an unlocked phone (Score 3, Insightful) 317

...and AT&T is the only company that is legally allowed to do that. If I unlocked your phone, it would be a crime. If I told you how to do it, that would be a crime too. No matter how you slice it, AT&T and the other carriers are getting a special, privileged position in the market because of this law (which is what the petition is all about).

Comment Re:You know, you can buy an unlocked phone (Score 1) 317

That you can have a carrier unlock your phone for you hardly solves the problem: now you live in a world where only carriers are allowed to provide that service of unlocking phones for people, and where it is illegal to even give someone instructions on how to do it themselves. You still have the government giving cell carriers a privileged position in the market, which is where the problem lies here.

Comment Re:You know, you can buy an unlocked phone (Score 4, Insightful) 317

Except that you did not take out a loan to buy your phone. You bought it at the price the carrier offered. The law says you cannot unlock the phone regardless of your contract, even when your contract expires, even if you pay the carrier the extra fee to cancel the contract, even if the carrier goes out of business. Stop trying to pretend that people are being offered a fair deal here; a fair deal is one in which you can buy something and do whatever you want with it.

Comment Re:You know, you can buy an unlocked phone (Score 1) 317

You're free to unlock it as soon as you fulfill that contract

You must have missed the news: that changed. Now you are not free to do so, because distributing the tools or knowledge needed to do that is a DMCA violation. It's OK, I'm sure being trapped in a freezer since 2011 was rough for you.

Comment Re:Option 3 (Score 4, Informative) 317

can't you already do TTY over amateur radio?

You can get Internet access of amateur radio if you want, there are plenty of people doing digital stuff. Here's the problem: you cannot do any commercial. That means that you cannot even browse Google, since it would transmit advertisements over an amateur band. A secondary issue is that everyone has to be licensed to transmit on amateur bands, and so most people would never be able to use it. Also problematic is the callsign requirement, which would make it much harder to use things like Tor. There are also regulations that make cryptography useless on amateur bands.

The problems with citizen-run communications are mostly regulatory. There are technical issues, but they pale in comparison to the regulations standing in our way.

Comment Re:You know, you can buy an unlocked phone (Score 0) 317

For the next two years you bitch and moan because you can't unlock the phone and switch carriers.

Oh, I'm sorry, I must have missed the technical problem with unlocking the phone. When last I checked, it was a legal problem, which is the point of the petition.

See, we "bitch and moan" because we bought a phone, and then the government told us we are not allowed to do what we want with the phone. Then people like you come in and say, "Well the carrier gave you a discount because of X, Y, Z" and we think to ourselves, "Yes, we bought it at the price the carrier offered to us. So what?"

You know, in market systems, when someone sells something at a given price and you buy it at that price, you are generally free to do whatever you want with it afterwards. If you do not want a market system, then stop pretending to have one and just create a government-run cell network like other countries have.

Comment Re:You know, you can buy an unlocked phone (Score 2) 317

What I want is this:
  1. I buy a phone
  2. I do whatever I want to it
  3. I tell other people about what I did

What we have now is this:

  1. You buy a phone
  2. The government steps in and makes sure that the carriers' business model is not threatened by unlocking
  3. Dare to tell others how to unlock, or do it for them? Go directly to jail, the government collects your money.

Comment Option 3 (Score 5, Interesting) 317

Create a new amateur license class, that allows individuals to run 4g networks; encourage cooperatives, meshes, and other citizen-run communications systems. Give the spectrum the carriers have to the people and let us manage our communications without relying on monopolies.

Comment Re:Most of us still do not take it seriously (Score 1) 347

You just need to obtain confidence that your counterparty is not double spending in some manner

Which is not secure, at least not under the definition of security that is commonly used in digital cash.

For example, your counterparty may have some secure hardware that is capable of remote attestation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management

EMV (chip-n-pin) cards have used them for many years

These are usually used in conjunction with an online payment processor, which changes the security model in fundamental ways. The security goal of these cards is to prevent unauthorized use of legitimate credentials; the legitimate user of those credentials is not the adversary. With double-spending, the legitimate user of the card is the adversary.

breaking the hardware? Doesn't happen

Faking the hardware can happen and Bitcoin will only stop it if you are online. What are you going to do to stop someone from producing a card that looks just like the "real thing" but which does not actually stop them from double spending? If you are going to introduce a central authority that issues these cards, why would you even bother with Bitcoin? You can get a more secure digital cash protocol that uses a central authority to issue the currency units, which actually supports secure offline transactions (regardless of the hardware someone uses).

Comment Most of us still do not take it seriously (Score 1) 347

  1. We already have anonymous, hard-to-control ways to give people money: we can hand them money. That is why the US government requires large cash transactions to be automatically reported. There is no reason the same could not be done with Bitcoin: sure, you might get away with some illegal Bitcoin transactions, but by using Bitcoin you are basically putting a giant neon sign on your forehead that says, "I am trying to avoid mainstream ways of paying for things!"
  2. Bitcoin cannot support secure offline payments. That makes it all the more difficult to hide the fact that you are using Bitcoin, unlike using paper money.
  3. At the exchange rate of Bitcoin, a government could simply buy all the currency in the system and ruin it for everyone. It would take a couple hundred million dollars, which is barely blip on the radar compared to the budget of a typical industrialized nation. You would not need to buy all the currency, either; just buying a significant fraction of it would destabilize prices and drive people away.
  4. The demand for Bitcoin is predicated on the existence of exchanges that allow Bitcoin to be traded for fiat currencies. Those exchanges are easy targets for a government wishing to ban Bitcoin within its borders. There is no reason to think that this situation will ever change: people still need to pay their taxes and spend money offline, and Bitcoin does not allow them to do either of those things.
  5. Serious cryptography researchers in the 80s and 90s showed the world how to make digital cash systems that do not suffer from any of the above problems. We should be talking about how to deploy those systems, rather than continuing to go astray with Bitcoin.

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