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Comment Re:Leave. (Score 1) 433

I don't know about law in any of the US, but in the UK: a private letter is considered to be "published", for libel purposes, the moment it is opened (by someone other than the party being libelled, or someone acting as their agent and with their express permission to open it)

Yes. It is roughly the same in the U.S. See HERE, in the section headed "Publication".

Comment Re:Leave. (Score 1) 433

With the intent to cause damage. Look it up. They damaged party has to prove intent. Which is why there are almost never successful; libel or slander cases in the US.

This is not true. At least in most states, intent to harm is not required.

What IS usually required is to show that the accused knew, or reasonably should have known, that the statement was false.

That is not quite the same thing.

Comment Re:This. Libel need not be public, but must be unt (Score 1) 433

It's amazing to me how many people don't get the difference between stating an opinion and stating something as fact. I am thinking of a certain Slashdot frequenter who fits that profile.

There is a great deal of legal precedent in that regard. For example, calling someone "an ass" or similar is pretty definitely an opinion, even if it's stated as though it were fact: "You're an ass."

In college law classes there is a rather famous case study from, I think, the 17th century.

A guest at an inn told the innkeeper: "My horse can pisse better ale than you serve here."

The innkeeper sued the customer for slander. The judge ruled: "The accused did not slander the innkeeper. He complimented his horse."

So, while there are lines as to what is acceptable speech and what is not, it pays to be cognizant of where those lines are. And many people have no clue.

Comment Re:Leave. (Score 4, Informative) 433

This is quite incorrect. I would say dangerously incorrect. At least in most of the U.S.

In general, actionable defamation (of which libel and slander are particular examples) only requires that you express untrue, damaging things to someone other than the party you are referring to. There is NO specific requirement that it be public.

And "damage" is used loosely here. Damage could mean damage to their career, or damage to their public reputation, or even just damage to a single friend's opinion of them.

If you wrote untrue, damaging things in a document to your HR department, that could definitely be considered libel, and would likely be actionable. Specific cases vary, but again in general.

Of course, truth is (again in general... most U.S. states) an absolute defense. So if what you wrote is true and you can demonstrate that it is, by a preponderance of evidence, then you're probably safe. But you'd better have that evidence.

In addition, most corporations have as part of their employment conditions that you can't sue the company or other employees as a result of negative opinions expressed as part of "official" company communications, such as an employee review or exit interview.

Again in the U.S., that is simply not true. "Most" corporations do NOT have such a clause in their contract, and there is a very strong push to stop that practice in those states where it is still allowed. Because in some states such clauses are specifically prohibited by law, and the list of those states is growing.

Comment Re:This is what happens when you have (Score 1) 193

Let's not forget that it's also a thermostat which is "smart" enough to call home (its home, that is) and report on your your thermostat settings and other activities that might be deduced from interaction with the device.

Some people think it's stupid to worry about such things. I think it's a "foot in the door". Remember, Nest was going to be part of a complete home "system".

Comment Re:Luddite here (Score 3, Insightful) 109

Yep - I'm sure no one at Google thought about this. You should email them quick!

What, you think Google is magic, or prescient?

Google has had A LOT of bad ideas. And went on to implement them, only later to realize they were bad ideas.

The thing about Google is that it (or Alphabet) is big enough that it can afford such failures... no matter how much it costs the rest of us.

Comment Re:well intentioned? (Score 1) 209

So why did Clapper commit perjury in front of congress to cover up these programs?

Besides, we have the documents leaked by Snowden, which revealed what they revealed. And as a result we know that we were lied to, and deceived, and criminally abused, over oh so many things...

Good intentions do not make up for that. Professionalism doesn't make up for that. Nothing, in fact, makes up for that.

Comment Re:Reliable sources (Score 1) 185

The court ruling doesn't give any context.

Yes, in fact it does.

Is your criteria for "how I find out about the world" seriously "Is this source telling me what I want to hear"?

No, but yours appeared to be, from your comment: "I'm not saying the story's wrong, but could you have found better sources than the Daily Caller and Zerohedge?"

I'm assuming some projection in your comment, because there's nothing in mine that bears any relationship to your extremist ideological twaddle.

It's a free country. Assume away. It won't get you anywhere, but I will defend to the... uh... change in my pocket, your right to do so.

I'd have been happy if the links were to the WSJ (minus paywall) or Times of London. Links to a politically charged blog and an economically charged blog, both of which are obsessed with ludicrous conspiracy theories, is not acceptable or useful.

Wait a minute... didn't you just imply that the source doesn't matter? You just got done insulting me for having that very attitude (albeit incorrectly, as I actually stated the opposite). Right up there, a few lines above, in quotes.

You leave me with little choice but to just repeat what I said before: I'm sorry your delicate eyes were offended by all that nasty material you had to be exposed to for the 10 seconds it took to find the link to the actual, unbiased source.

Yours must be a very hard life, with all that offense going on all the time.

Comment Re: Depends on the devices (Score 1) 183

Doesn't anybody remember that Cisco did this with their Linsys routers? In order to set up your own router, you had to do it via a webpage on Cicso's servers, and from what I understand, it also called home a lot when it didn't need to.

I doubt I have to say here: that's not what I want in a router.

I never did find out what became of that situation. All I know for sure is that I don't buy Linksys products now.

Comment Re: Because they do it at all (Score 1) 280

The idea that Obama has been "reasonable" I find downright laughable.

I don't blame him for the things he tried to do and didn't.

It's what you seem to think are the "little" things, regardless of how his administration brought them about: a huge increase in mass surveillance, foreign policy seemingly designed to aid the enemy, and... how many crimes? That we know of?

Let's see. There was Clapper lying to Congress, Lerner lying to Congress, Holder lying to Congress, McCarthy lying to Congress, Holder in Fast and Furious, oh... and now a Federal judge has caught DOJ attorneys lying about the government letting in 100,000 (!!!) immigrants it never had any lawful authority to let in, and knew it.

That's just off the top of my head. How many other broken laws and Constitutional violations can we find if we really look? ALL of those people lying to Congress were direct employees of Barack Obama. He appointed them, he told them what to do. That's his job.

Let's not forget bombing whole families from drones, in violation of both U.S. and International law.

Maybe you don't think that's doing a lot. I do. And that's only a fraction of it... just SOME OF the things we've caught them at.

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