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Comment ...since there have been no abuses... (Score 2) 316

Doesn't LOVEINT count?

Even if it doesn't, that's not the point.

I think we can all agree that having these sorts of communications records is a despot's wet dream. The fact that it hasn't been abused yet is immaterial. It's too tempting a tool for those with the wrong motives.

Comment Re:s/Government-run/Government-regulated/ (Score 1) 355

What government will control it? City? County? State? Federal?

I think in practice, it wouldn't make much difference either way, but splitting them up this way would likely be less disruptive since these companies already have trucks, linemen, etc that maintain this infrastructure now. By just splitting up the company those "assets" would naturally flow to the company maintaining the lines. A government takeover would be more "messy" and would probably involve a lot more court battles.

Also, there is something of a precedent for this sort of arrangement. Electricity is usually provided by a local monopoly provider, and the state/local utility commission generally sets the rules for how it's run. ISPs are generally beholden to the PUC as well in the current situation. This would just reduce the part that the PUC runs while allowing free market competition for the rest of the company.

Unfortunately, I don't forsee our current crop of govt. officials having the stones to do anything like this anytime soon.

Comment s/Government-run/Government-regulated/ (Score 2) 355

I don't think a government run utility would be better than what we have today, and would likely be worse. What would be better? What should have been done in the original 1996 laws:

        Force the telcos and cable companies to break up.

Really, it's as simple as that...

The main problem with the current situation is that there is near-zero competition. At best you have "competition" between two ILECs (cable and telco). In some cases they will "lease" their lines to competitors, but who wants to be in a business where you're the customer of your main competitor? That's guaranteed not to go well.

So in my "dream" solution...

Last-mile providers would be a regulated monopoly (duopoly I guess in the case where there is both twisted-pair and coax) that would just be in charge of the cabling and infrastructure between actual customers and the "central office". They would then lease the lines to "dialtone" (bandwidth?) providers at rates set by the local public utility commission, but would be barred from providing any content on those lines.

That would set up the situation such that multiple companies could compete based on the services that they could provide to customers and price.

I'm not holding my breath for such an outbreak of sanity though... ;)

Comment Re:Data Breach (Score 1) 385

You're assuming that the customer had the ability to wipe the drive after it failed. If it was defective then it's quite likely not to be the case.

This sounds an awful lot like someone returned the drive either mistakenly thinking it was defective, or after hitting some sort of intermittent failure with it. NewEgg (or the HD vendor) then "tested" it and stuck it back on the shelf without wiping it. Or maybe they replaced some of the solid-state components and called it a day.

Either way, I'd be very suspicious about putting my data on it. It certainly wasn't tested well after being "fixed" at the very least.

Comment still an income, not a wealth tax (Score 5, Insightful) 2115

Note that this is still an income tax -- not a wealth tax. Those who are already wealthy can and will always game this such that they report little income, thereby preserving their wealth. If necessary, they'll just keep their money offshore.

If he had any sense, he'd offer an amnesty to the wealthy. Allow them to repatriate their funds from overseas at a reduced tax rate so that money comes back to the US. The money the treasury makes on that smaller percentage would still be more than the zero they get from it today.

Comment Re:It's actually very simple (Score 1) 368

Sure, but will that fact come out in the patent examination? Or will the person with the unpatented prior art be subject to lawsuits from Mr. First-to-file? I'm not a patent attorney, so I think this is a legitimate question...

For instance, suppose I "invent" an algorithm in some software I write. I use that algorithm but consider it obvious or just don't bother to patent it. Then, a year later someone else independently "invents" the same algorithm and decides to patent it. That person then discovers my use of it and sues. Am I likely to have to pay patent royalties since I neglected to file a patent when I originally invented it?

Comment Re:It's actually very simple (Score 1) 368

On the flip side...

What often happens is that someone "invents" something and doesn't bother to patent it because it's obvious. Then someone comes along later and does file a patent for the invention, turns around and sues the person who originally invented it. First-to-file now means that if you don't recognize something as an "invention" and patent it when you come up with the idea, you can get screwed later.

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