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Comment Re:They want no cash (Score 1) 558

Tons of companies sell technology that will allow a company to track the location of every RFID tag in a warehouse down to the inch.

Why couldn't a grocery store do the same? Stick on RFID on everything. Track where everything is every second, match it up to the register you were at when the items were bought, check the transaction record and match it video surveillance and from there they can easily match your name and customer info with every item you bought, looked at, hesitated in front, how you and wife seem to be getting along, how fat your kids are, and other things that some people find terrifying.
My view is, I don't give a fuck. Stopping them from using it for anything else is a fight for a different arena. It's not Safeway's fault they can't inform me of products I might actually want in the most efficient way possible without there being the risk someone else might take it and use the knowledge they have of me for fuckery.

Comment Re:Punishes users and good advertisers (Score 1) 707

I use the ads on Amazon all the time to find things I wouldn't have known to or thought to look for. Maybe I don't need a automatic dog walker right now, but it's good to have been informed it exists. Maybe a neighbor will ask where to find one. I can now tell her I saw it on Amazon.

It's just not possible to agree with something a company like Amazon does without sounding like a fucking shill. I don't see how, but the evidence is conclusive. I have to be wrong.

Comment Re:And with laws like the DMCA you can be sued for (Score 1) 406

While we usually associate "facility" with just physical space, the (standard and legal) definition of the word it also includes the equipment necessary for doing something which extends the section to also include "virtual space" like a website.
It's intended to target hackers but it's use of a word with a wide definition like "facility" rather than something more specific means that legally, bypassing an "adblock block" or telling others how to do so would be illegal under the law as it "intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility" by bypassing their requirement that you accept viewing their ads in return for consuming the content on their site.

Comment Re:What is "biometric information"? (Score 1) 58

So, either the Illinois law considers all photos containing faces "biometric identifiers"

It doesn't. The Illinois law they're using to sue considers face geometry scans a "biometric identifier", but it specifically excludes photographs as biometric identifiers.
The plaintiffs are claiming that the defendants digitally "scanned" the facial geometry from the photos, which exposes an ambiguity in the law and a Federal judge basically said he wasn't going to resolve ambiguities within the state's statute and left the issue in the hands of the state courts.

In the end, the suit is likely to fail, at least on the privacy issue. If it doesn't, it could make simply recognising someone in a photo a criminal act. While an involuntary basic human ability, it requires one to visually "scan" the photo and match it up to a mental database of "scanned" faces which the plaintiff's claim the law makes illegal. Of course, there's been far worse legal decisions so who knows? A positive outcome for the plaintiffs would certainly make many lawyers very, very happy.

Comment Re:Oh give me a break (Score 1) 349

It's maybe protected. But probably not.

It's doubtful that Newlin and her estate have kept up with the technical requirements of the 1909 Copyright Act to continue the copyright protection beyond the original 28-year copyright period.
There's no record of renewal, or any notice at all in the Catalogs of Copyright Entries that I could find under "Warm Kitty" or Newlin's name.
And while copyright could be renewed by an assignee, there's very specific rules and procedures that have to be followed in the renewal application for that to happen. It's doubtful Willis Music did what was needed to renew the copyright of the lyrics for Newlin. Rather, their copyright renewal would only affect publication, ownership and copyright of the lyrics held by the author which would only cover the lyrics when matched to the same particular public domain tune. Responsibility for retaining the rights to the lyrics alone would have fallen to Newlin, who did not apparently ever register a copyright on the lyrics, meaning her copyright would have expired 28 years after she wrote the poem.

So, the song (lyrics + music) as it appears in the book is certainly still copyrighted by Willis Music, but the lyrics by themselves are almost certainly public domain.

Comment Re:Dead tree technology (Score 1) 122

Few people bemoan the loss of favor of stone and metal tablets or papyrus scrolls for print. Paper won't be any more enduring to the public than those technologies were.

In 150 years, paper books will likely be a tiny niche market, at best, as people with sentimental and institutional attachments to paper die off and people get acclimated to whatever form of digital media consumption is most convenient at the time.

And while I don't own an 8-track player, a VCR, or a punch card reader but if I had media in those formats and wanted to convert them to a modern format, it wouldn't be anything close to impossible to do so now. It's unlikely it'll become so within 150 years, assuming human society doesn't regress or collapse before then, so file formats aren't a major concern for personal media.

Comment Re:Everywhere (Score 1) 210

One of my coworkers ended up paying a total of $1900 and spent 3 days locked up over a license plate light that wasn't "bright enough". He got pulled over and got a $96 ticket. Rather than fight it, he just paid it. But, 3 months later he was pulled over and arrested because while the ticket said $96, the total was actually $104 after a "processing fee". They never notified him of the difference but after 90 days, his outstanding $8 debt caused an arrest warrant to be issued and since he got arrested on a Friday night, he had to spend the entire weekend in lockup for which he was charged the additional ~$1800 on top of the $8 to pay for his weekend in jail.

That's "excessive".

Comment Re:Education... (Score 1) 276

I grew up in California, bouncing between the central SQ valley (Fresno area) and the bay area but have lived in Northwest Arkansas for about 15 years now while still returning to CA frequently. It's really not a bad place to live.
Pretty much anywhere more than 10 miles from a major highway is serious banjo country, but the cities (mostly) aren't. Springdale is in the Bentonville to Fayetteville strip of Arkansas where Walmart's HQ is. The schools and healthcare in the area are well funded and are miles above what can be found in the rural areas that make up the majority of the state that skew overall rankings and data to make things seem a lot more backwards than they actually are.
It also has a very low cost of living. A new 2500sq ft. "luxury" home on a quarter acre in Arkansas cost me $320k (~$1.6k/mo on a 30 year note). Our 820 sq ft SF apartment cost almost 2x as much a month in 1994.

Living here seems more like Sacramento or a SF suburb than the boondocks I expected when I moved here. For refugees, it's not a bad place to settle.

Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 66

The decisions do belong to the public. But the printed and electronic collections of case law that exist are sometimes copyrightable because they contain proprietary annotations, case histories and pagination or weren't paid for by the public but licensed out to a private publisher.

Anyone can go out and get the decisions from public records and state law libraries, but with millions of pages of case law just among the major Federal and State courts; obtaining, formatting, and publishing all that data from the uncopyrightable (usually) original sources is a massive job.

The real issue I'm wondering is.. why? Google Scholar has most, if not all, of what Harvard is looking to put out online already in a searchable form along with a cite history (lists cases that have cited the case you're researching. Aka "Shepardizing") and there's also Findlaw, Justia, and several other free options. Another source is always nice, but it's certainly not revolutionary or even newsworthy.

Comment Re: Police? (Score 1) 370

Are you a patent attorney? Adding "on a computer" to something does not make it different. The difference between having info released online or via phone book is no more than the difference between being published in a New York City phone book versus being published in a Owensboro, Kentucky phone book. It's a difference in scale, not mechanics.
A phone book gives people just as much malicious potential as someone releasing your personal info on an internet forum.

Regardless of the medium in which it's released, the likelihood of someone using the information maliciously is highly proportional to the number of people with access to that information who perceive you to be a douchebag. A Pediatrician who has their name, address and phone number plastered all over the internet is far less likely to have that information used maliciously than a paroled child molester who has the same info published in the Owensboro, Kentucky phone book would.

The only real difference is that online, people perceive themselves as being free from any real world consequences to their words and actions because they're less likely to have their personal information revealed when they spout off on an internet forum than they would if they showed up on their local news talking shit. Just because a Klan member wears a hood in public, doesn't mean he's free from the consequences if someone is somehow able to identify him.

The only real solution to doxxing is to try and behave online in a way that if your information is revealed, no one has any reason to want to use it maliciously.

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