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Comment Re:This is extortion (Score 4, Interesting) 228

This is extortion.

No, it isn't. Extortion is defined as the use of force or threat to achieve a gain of some sort for the party threatening the use of force (i.e., I put a gun to your head and say "I won't shoot you if you give me $100, otherwise I will").

It also isn't blackmail unless Wikileaks is attempting to achieve some sort of gain for themselves by threatening to release the information publicly unless these companies fail to pay them.

In other words, if wikileaks isn't gaining anything (money etc) from this, it isn't extortion or blackmail. It's Wikileaks allowing the tech companies to fix the holes the CIA created before they release information about those holes to the general public - thereby possibly allowing the tech companies to save face. That makes sense, since it's quite possible that it's no fault of any of these companies that the CIA decided to completely trash their products in the name of spying on everyone. The damage is already done, in other words, and there's really nothing stopping Wikileaks from just telling the world what the damage is. It's kind of nice of them to give Microsoft etc some breathing room first, so that when they do release details on the damage done, they can also include information that shows these tech companies have already fixed the problems.

Comment Re:Let me be the first.... (Score 1) 553 call BullShit on this story. Assuming someone hasn't already done so) Sorry, it's simply not believable that he would have been given such a test, with such explicit, and actually fairly demanding questions. Try again.

Beat me to it. And then to think that a border/customs agent administered it? And then checked his answers? Come on.

Comment Re:New form of measurement? (Score 1) 209

*Sigh.* Again, what I meant was that SHE doesn't need an attorney and therefore wouldn't necessarily be required to foot that expense.

I am really curious, though, for the entertainment value (even if the saner part of me may regret asking). What other "class of legal beagle" were you referring to?

Comment Re:New form of measurement? (Score 1) 209

Sorry, what I meant (and I wasn't clear) was that she should wait until they try to come after her for it. A ding on her credit report, harassing her for the money, selling the account to a 3rd party and representing this amount as correct, her inability to get credit at another company for a cell phone because of the report, etc might qualify as damages.

Not being a lawyer, I wouldn't make a prediction on the "emotional distress" component, though stranger things have happened...

Comment Re:New form of measurement? (Score 3, Informative) 209

Wow. Uh, no! First off, if she sues them (which is what I was clearly indicating should happen), SHE's the plaintiff. And no, even if they were to sue her, they'd have to do it in the county of her residence, or the court has no jurisdiction. You can't just sue someone in NY when your business is in CO and she lives in GA, because you think the NY court is going to rule in your favor.

Secondly, regarding arbitration - even if they produce a contract that they can prove she agreed to (far from a certainty), they're probably not going to want to actually go through with arbitration on a $10K claim.

Thirdly, your last comment is so asinine I'm not sure how to respond to it. The arbitrator is not biased against the litigant because there's some shady deal in which they make "millions" by Verizon bringing them cases. Verizon (and all major corporations) generally avoid actual courtrooms and arbitration whenever possible because it costs one hell of a lot of money (even if they win). So, no, that "obvious bias" doesn't exist except in your fevered imagination. If there's a bias (and I'm certainly not insinuating that the AAA is always as impartial as it claims to be) it wouldn't be for that reason.

Comment Re:New form of measurement? (Score 1) 209

It'd cost more than $9100, even counting your time as free, to fight this as an individual. So companies know they can do to you what they please.

Not necessarily true. In many states small claims court doesn't allow attorneys (or at least it's not unusual to not have one). Fight it. That kind of mentality is why they try this sort of thing. If everyone they did this to took them to small claims court they'd think twice.

Got a "buddy" in the process of suing AT&T like this right now. They've already offered to settle for about 50% of what he was asking for. He's holding out.

Comment Re:The death of free expression on the Internet (Score 1) 192

Right, and the result of this is repression of creativity. If you can't borrow on another's idea, expand on it, take it in a new direction (to use a common example, I'm thinking about Shakespeare set in different eras, highlighting themes more relevant to the current age than to the author's, etc) without being heavily penalized, then no one will try - at least not in the open.

It's easy to immediately assign the worst possible motives to the perpetrators. Those motives may or may not exist - maybe we can't know the insides of their heads. But the effects of these kinds of laws are the same; regardless of whether those who write these laws actually intend to repress free speech/expression and destroy freedom, that will be the result.

Comment Re:And this (Score 5, Interesting) 1092

$12.50/hr works out to about $2K/month. A quick Zillow search of apartments in the SF area turns up nothing (not one) under $1K/month. The cheapest thing I could find (in 5 minutes, I grant you, but still) was $1300 - for a 140 square feet studio apartment (that's 14ft by 10ft - smaller than the single room I'm sitting in right now). Maybe she's an idiot for living in SF. But regardless, if that's what housing costs in SF, $2K/month ain't gonna cut it.

Comment Re:The death of free expression on the Internet (Score 1) 192

It's no longer "copyright", it's a gagging order for the common man.

*This.* Call it paranoia if you want, but I think that's exactly where this is headed - the death of free speech/expression (and not just on the internet - anywhere; these rules don't just apply to the web). Of course not every case will (or can) be tried, but you don't want to be used as the deterrent example, and neither do I. So, shut up civilian, and let the government/mass media tell you what to think. Then don't you dare criticize it, or the penalties will be more than you care to deal with.

Submission + - TPP Change Means Drastically Higher Penalties for Copyright "Infringement" (

Mephistophocles writes: A sneaky and underhanded change to the TPP, spotted by the EFF and summarized here by Jeremy Malcom, means much stiffer penalties for copyright "infrigement:"

Under the TPP's original terms, a country could limit the exposure of the owner of such a website to prison time, or to the seizure and possible destruction of their server, on the grounds that by definition their infringement didn't cause any lost sales to the copyright owner. (Note that they would be liable for civil damages to the copyright owner in any case.)

Although a country still has the option to limit criminal penalties to “commercial scale” infringements (which is so broadly defined that it could catch even a non-profit subtitles website), the new language compels TPP signatories to make these penalties available even where those infringements cause absolutely no impact on the copyright holder's ability to profit from the work. This is a massive extension of the provision's already expansive scope.

Perhaps most concerning, however, is the fact that this means those stiff penalties apply even when there is no harm or threat of harm to the copyright owner caused by the infringement.

Think about it. What sense is there in sending someone to jail for an infringement that causes no harm to the copyright holder, whether they complain about it or not? And why should it matter that the copyright holder complains about something that didn't affect them anyway? Surely, if the copyright holder suffers no harm, then a country ought to be able to suspend the whole gamut of criminal procedures and penalties, not only the availability of ex officio action.

This is no error—or if it is, then the parties were only in error in agreeing to a proposal that was complete nonsense to begin with.

Comment Re:File a Complaint (Score 1) 172

The FCC does not follow up or otherwise pay any attention to that list, as far as I can tell. I've been on that list for many years and spent several months logging every single single telemarketing call - absolutely no reduction whatsoever. I don't think they care and/or they have "better" things to do.

Comment Re:It's Not About Porn (Score 3, Interesting) 231

I don't think pornography is taboo in western society. The idea that western society considers it shameful is a straw man created by western media. It's only used for shaming if a person "needs" to be shamed for other reasons (ironically, extreme religious beliefs are often used in the same way) - i.e., Charlie over there won't carry the party line, so we need some dirt on him to make him go away. Did you know he watches porn?? GASP

On the contrary - the average person doesn't really care what you watch online in private, as they likely watch plenty of the same stuff themselves (or both). I don't have statistics in front of me and I'm too lazy to go looking for them at the moment, but I believe it's estimated that something like 60% of 12 year olds in the US are already hooked. It's safe to say most people watch porn or have at some point - if that's true, then any "taboo" is artificial.

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