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Comment Re:narcissistic spectrum personality disorder (Score 5, Insightful) 206

If one is that concerned about having a criminal record one should refrain from committing crimes. All he had to do was write a short post on his blog to call attention to whatever issue it was that was bothering him. Instead he broke into a server room, installed a computer, and illegally downloaded thousands of documents. I think 6 months and a criminal record is about right for that sort of thing.

Give me a break. There was no "locked server room" - he entered an unlocked wiring closet. The computer he "installed" was a laptop he set on a shelf (near the property of a homeless man, who was using that wiring closet to store things). He then downloaded documents that it was perfectly legal for him to download - he just automated the process so that he was downloading them a heck of a lot faster than the JSTOR people were expecting.

So at most he was actually guilty of misdemeanor breaking and entering (and I'd be willing to argue that one, since the closet wasn't actually secured in any way), and maybe some civil copyright infringement if he posted the JSTOR documents for others.

6 months and a felony conviction was *way* too much for his actual offenses.

Comment Re: Why wouldn't it be? (Score 1) 209

Could someone with a little law school please respond to this? Is lying to instagram and violating their terms Civil or Criminal?

IANAL, but there have been a number of cases where federal prosecutors have decided that a TOS violation constitutes a crime under the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act). I don't think anyone has yet fought this one in the courts, so it may not stand up to judicial scrutiny, but it is most definitely used as the "stick" to convince someone to accept a plea bargain.

Needless to say,*that* particular interpretation of the law isn't likely to be used against a cop unless that particular cop seriously pisses off a U.S. Attorney.

Comment Re:Hard copy? (Score 3, Interesting) 272

I wonder if the Feds went all out like they do to us civilians when they performed the raid. Did they perform a typical 'no knock' raid, at like 3AM, and knock the doors in and smash the windows, and toss 'Flash Bangs' in the room and enter the premises with a small military unit in order to perform the records seizure?

There was no "raid" - what they did was deputize the detective in charge of the records as a U.S. Marshal, and then instruct him to transfer the records in question to other U.S. Marshals.

Pretty questionable, legally (basically, they completely sidestepped state public records laws using this trick), but I'm not sure that "raid" is the correct word to describe the processes.

Comment Re:As time goes on... (Score 1) 143

The less people will care. The less people will remember their lost money, and the less people will be able to do about it. I think we're close to that point where those who lost have accepted it and those who followed the story stopped, no lessons learned, look at all the thriving bitcoin exchanges & online wallets. Like school shootings, we're about over it til the next big one hits.

Hmmmm. Take that paragraph, and "s/bitcoin exchanges/stock exchanges/" and "s/online wallets/portfolios/", and it would still be entirely true. Looks like the bitcoin markets aren't all that different from the securities markets.

Comment Re:Is there anything that's not a terrorist threat (Score 1) 210

Given that pork-eating flight school students turned out to be Islamist terrorists, I'd have to say the answer is no.

I hate to spoil your snark, but Islam, like Judaism, has a prohibition against eating pork. So you could argue that *not* eating bacon is a possible warning sign of terrorist potential...

Our success at preventing domestic terror attacks is usually credited partly to our ability to stop the terrorists from sending each-other money.

Uhm, what success? AFAIK, the only "terrorist plot" in the US that the government has prevented was that one where the idiots thought that if they blew up a fuel pipe at JFK, they could get an explosion all along that pipeline. Obviously, they didn't comprehend that for an explosion to happen, you need fuel *and* oxygen...

BTC is specifically designed so that government's can't trace it, or interdict the cash-flow. This means the anti-terror cops damn well better have a plan for if AQ starts a major BTC mining operation.

No, bitcoin is *not* designed to be untraceable. In fact, thanks to the blockchain, it's actually a lot easier to trace than normal cash. What's hard is taking the information from the blockchain, and connecting it to a specific individual or group. So it's pretty anonymous, but once a given wallet has been associated with someone like AQ, anyone monitoring the blockchains could extract a heck of a lot of info about where their money is coming from and going to.

Comment Re:Phones yeah (Score 1) 227

Is this progress? Moving from 1-minute fill up to 20 minutes and it requires an attendant? Not in my book.

Personally, I'd see it as a business opportunity. Since the percentage of time the attendant will be spending connecting/disconnecting cables will probably be quite low, why not have him/her doing something else?

"Hello, welcome to Sonic. Would you like to try our ElectroBurger and Fires combo, while we charge up your car?"

Comment Re:Translation: (Score 4, Informative) 144

A employee doesn't have the same rights as a non-employee, they play by a different set of rules. That Microsoft changed their privacy policy was for those who need to be spoon fed, or see Microsoft as their sugar daddy.

The fuss isn't over the employee's email being read. It's about the email of a blogger who is *not* associated with MS (other than using a Hotmail account) being read.

Comment Re:It's not arrogant, it's correct. (Score 4, Informative) 466

Your customers pay you, as their provider, Netflix pays their provider, and it's between you and their provider to determine who, if anyone, pays who, based on the flow of traffic.

What, you mean that someone who pays his ISP for a connection to the Internet shouldn't have to pay extra if he actually wants to use that bandwidth? I'm pretty sure that'd be classified as communism, or terrorism, or whatever the 'ism of the month is.

ISPs will fight tooth and nail to keep from becoming the "dumb pipes" that true net neutrality would make them. Because then they wouldn't be able to siphon off the profits of companies that have actually innovated themselves a business in the Internet space, rather than just continuing to make a buck off of their infrastructure semi-monopolies.

Comment Re:why crack my Wi-Fi (Score 1) 150

WPA2 keeps the neighbors from eating mah bandwich?

Try "it keeps people from injecting exploits into your computer by impersonating web servers." Be glad you enabled it.

How about "it keeps you from being hauled off to jail by some really mean feds because someone used your wireless to download kiddie porn"? *That* most people can easily understand.

Comment Re:Cost savings (Score 1) 914

I agree that extending a prison sentence seems a little barbaric. But what about looking at this from a pure cost-saving viewpoint? Instead of sentencing a prisoner to 10 years (or whatever is normal for their offense) and keeping them in prison that long, use the drug and keep them in prison for only one year but make them feel like 10 years have passed. Huge cost savings to the public, right there.

Only if you don't consider externalities. If the person hasn't been successfully rehabilitated, then your cost savings would be eaten up by the increased cost of the new crimes committed once released from prison.

And the simple truth is that we don't know how to effectively rehabilitate many criminals. The most effective rehab processes (such as those used by Sweden) still have a 35% recidivsm rate.

Comment Re:Why not take out Trademarks (Score 1) 653

For blue, red, green, purple, white, black, tan, clear, brown, striped, poka dotted, etc. multimeters, and de-facto own all the rights to create all multimeters?

Because trademarks don't work that way. In the US, you either have to already be using the mark as a part of your business, or have a genuine intent to use that mark in the near future (for the second case, you may be required to present a business plan showing how you are going to use the mark in order to prove your intent is genuine).

The reality is that Fluke has been using the "dark face with yellow edges on a digital multimeter" for as long as there have been digital multimeters. Anyone who uses multimeters regularly would likely be able to identify a Fluke by it's color scheme. Which is exactly what trademarks are intended to protect.

Comment Re:The most damning aspect of this affair (Score 1) 259

If legitimate, this "scientists weren't allowed" statement is indeed alarming. However, it was also given without details, basis, or evidence. I am a scientist, and I don't give a damn about what my industry wants me to study. Who are these pansy agricultural scientists that ask companies for permission about what to study? Was a scientist actually sued? Can anyone document any details of a possible threat, even a subtle or implied one? How did these companies manange to distribute these seeds so widely to farmers while completely preventing all scientists from obtaining a single sample? Come on, evidence please! Until then, I really want to be inflamed by this story. Can anyone with some real details help me out?

Here's the explanation. There was no Grand Consipracy to prevent scientists from obtaining and studying the seeds. What wasn't allowed was for scientists to have access to the fields where the plants were being commercially grown.

They *could* have obtained the seeds, planted them, and done their studies on those crops. But they couldn't possibly reproduce the sheer scale of Mega-agrobusiness. Since evolution involves lots of random chance, there would be a lot more chances for resistance to develop in the millions of acres of commercial fields than there would be in the much smaller scale fields available to researchers.

About the onlly thing to be alarmed about is the fact that the EPA didn't require monitoring of GMO-planted fields for such changes. But while that might be alarming, it's not particularly surprising, given the way the US goverment caters to corporations.

Comment Re:Warrant requests (Score 1) 41

How about 3 strikes and you're out?
I've heard that is really popular amongst prosecutors and law enforcement.

And how would you count the strikes? That would require some sort of central records of warrant applications, each one indexed by something. Using a suspect's name wouldn't be reliable (warrants listing "john Doe" are issued all the time, when law enforcement is trying to get evidence needed to identify a suspect). And you wouldn't be able to rely on a "case ID", since law enforcement would be the one issuing said ID, and could just "open a new case" when they ran out of strikes.

Now add in the possibility of different jurisdictions - a warrant for someone's email could be sought in the jurisdiction in which the person lives, the jurisdiction where the email provider's headquarters are located, the jurisdiction where the servers are located, etc.

And of course if we could rely on prosecutors to police themselves on the matter, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion...

Comment Re:Warrant requests (Score 2) 41

Wow... next time I end up in court, I sure hope the judge sits down with me and lets me re-word my plea over and over until I win. That'd be great.

What else is he supposed to do in this case? There is nothing like a "double jeopardy" rule that applies to warrant applications, so the government's attorneys have and always will have the ability to keep doing it over until they get something that the judge finds acceptable.

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