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Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 191

It's often also cheaper. It costs me less to take a train to Stansted airport, then an Easyjet plane from Stansted to Edinburgh and a bus to the city centre than it does to take a train from Cambridge to Edinburgh. Even including faffing at the airport time, the plane is a bit quicker. I'll take the train given the choice, because it's more comfortable and I can get some work done on the way, but it's a close-run thing.

Comment Re:Exposing those who store plaintext passwords (Score 1) 104

Make sure that you let them know that, because you have gone through responsible disclosure, if they are compromised then you will happily testify in court that they were aware of the insecurity of the personal information and that this makes them liable for increased damages for any compromise resulting in a failure to address the issue in a number of jurisdictions.

Comment Re:LMFTFY (Score 1) 130

Just as soon as the Moller Skycar is ready. It'll be real soon now, right? He's only been working on it for about 50 years.

Moller ran up against the problem of not wanting to get test pilots killed, and the FAA not wanting to get test pilots killed... but strap in a lightweight laptop that can autonomously stabilize the vehicle during testing while you have a pilot on the ground directing it where to go and you should be able to make faster progress than Moller ever could with periodic tethered flights from a crane and a human test pilot.

Comment Re:The poor economics of flying cars (Score 1) 130

The biggest mistake people make, is thinking, if technology X was tested and it failed. that in 50 years with new technology and materials it will still fail.

The problem with making a flying car isn't really the technology. We've known how to make a VTOL aircraft for a long time now. The showstopper is the economics of it.

Yes, it is the technology... new technology is what makes the economics work or not work. Successful new technology has always been about making the economics work. Lighter stronger materials..... lighter more powerful engines and motors, denser energy storage in batteries, along with lighter more powerful and more energy efficient computers necessary for controlling all those systems in a more dynamic vertical take off flight mode. I am not saying the economics will work, or that it could be made affordable for large numbers of people, but it is certainly a lot closer to working than it was ten or twenty years ago.

And even if the economics only work for the wealthy, then that still could mean a better overall transportation system with less pressure on existing infrastructure if we take some people off the roads.

Certainly worth some speculative R&D and it is worth support from NASA and regulatory support from the FAA.

Comment Re:Totally. (Score 1) 122

If terrorists hack emails of White House Office staff and get such sensitive information we will see the fall of our country."

Yeah, I totally believe you're an American. Totally. Look, this is my not-being-sarcastic face.

Regardless, our national security is built on the stronger foundation of common purpose of Liberty and democracy and not merely the ability of our government officials to keep secrets from us and our enemies.

Sure there are some things that should be secret to keep people safer and which allows our government and military to operate without adversaries knowing their every move. But our national security must be stronger than secrets.

Comment Winning small is better than losing big. (Score 1) 425

I think they want to take it all the way up to the Supreme Court, no half-measures.

So they want to lose big and take our Liberty with them? Thanks a lot?

Better to at least establish through practice the right to distribute these technical plans to Americans with the least possible amount of red tape (a EULA checkbox before download that says you are a US Citizen or Resident and will not export to citizens of other countries) and then fight for reasonable regulations on export. They should do this now, on their website, right now if they are at all serious about this issue.

The courts are not going to accept a prior restraint argument if there is not even the slightest care or check on whether the files are being requested by foreign sources.

Encryption was hard enough and technically web browsers and other software with encryption could still be export controlled, but actual weapon plans and schematics are going to be a bridge too far. And at least with encryption software there was a letter of the law attempt to comply export regulations. The court is going to have little appetite to go into the degree of lethality of the weapons in question to establish some higher threshold for exporting weapon plans abroad.

This case is overreach with all risk with the only hope being that the courts rule against this case more narrowly to allow them to fall back on the methods and procedures for export control that I suggest be applied.

Instead of establishing a file sharing community where amateur gunsmiths were actually sharing plans and making improvements to weapon designs and making some responsible efforts to make sure that people posing as foreign nationals at a time of ISIS weren't given weapon designs, this entire effort has been an immature attempt to put the cart before the horse that has been destructive of efforts to maintain 2nd amendment rights.

Somebody else please set up a marketplace for pistol, rifle and shotgun designs and schematics, put up the EULA to keep out foreign nationals and let's give them attention and praise for actually furthering the science, art and engineering of pistol, shotgun, and rifle design. And if that new website is sent some cease and desist letters threatening them, then let's support them, because then at least we can possibly win and protect the essence of the 2nd amendment which protects Americans right to keep and bear arms, not the rights of people in other countries.

Comment Complying doesn't prevent distribution within US (Score 2) 425

Yes it is ridiculous, but it is also trivial to comply and legally make those plans available to 300 million Americans. Just label the files with the appropriate export control warnings and have down-loaders agree to the restrictions via the type of click through legal agreement that many software downloads have.

We went through this with encryption software and even web browsers that supported https... ITAR could have broken the Internet except people figured out how to comply and in their compliance show how silly the regulations actually were. The criminal act is in actually sending the files to a foreigner. So you just need to have someone state they are a US citizen and they agree not to export the files to a non-US citizen. Keep a log of downloads in case any downloader chooses to commit fraud and makes an unauthorized download.

Just comply with the bare requirements and then fight on the stronger grounds that the legal restrictions don't actually de facto prevent export, but that further restrictions on publication and distribution would indeed prevent the lawful distribution of the files to American citizens.

Comment Re:"Activist" judges? (Score 1) 425

TWO constitutional rights. The first and second amendments are both violated by this ruling.


Ya, but all Defense Distributed had to do was put a warning label on it that says it was export controlled and then to have people that downloaded the plans click yes that they are American citizens or green card holders and agree not to export it. Those agreements have been held to be legally binding.

Export control law covers a wide range of unclassified, but technical data regarding weapons or things that could have dual use even. The courts aren't going to put the entire export control regime in jeopardy because a guy doesn't want to label his files and have people agree to not redistribute the technical plans.

Defense Distributed took the most extreme legal stance and lost.

Comment Re:Asinine. (Score 1) 425

Mod up.

I recall very well when web browsers that supported encryption were export controlled. Maybe they still are, who knows and who cares? The point is that it is trivial to exclude foreign IP address ranges from downloading the material, to have someone click something that says they won't re-distribute the material internationally and have the files marked with a warning that says they are export controlled. Then you are in compliance with export control regulations and still making the material available to 300 million Americans.

Defense Distributed keeps going into these fights, picking these fights, choosing the most extremely unlikely legal defense and now obviously failing... if they are really serious then it is time to put the plans back online with the appropriate trivial safeguards against export.

Just like they did with web browsers and other commercial and open source software with encryption back when they were export controlled in the 1990s.

Comment Re:Don't blame the courts. (Score 1) 222

Blame North Carolina for passing a bad law. The courts did no more than affirm the states' right to regulate their municipalities.

While you're at it, blame Wilson for overreaching. They could have made a case for installing basic infrastructure (fiber optic cable, no different than roads) and then leasing it by the strand to individuals and businesses to connect to the Internet provider of their choice. And invited providers to enter the market and compete, now with the ease-of-entry facilitated by last-mile infrastructure. Instead they made the same bad decision most municipalities make: run a municipal Internet service with no direct access to the cable for other purposes.

Yes, this was a technical decision about the ability of states to tell municipalities what they could and could not do... Courts basically treat municipalities of a subdivision of the states, so state law and state regulations always take precedence. It is a legal no-brainer.

But for every bureaucratic decision there is usually some other bureaucratic way around it. For municipalities trying to promote local Internet Service there seem like a dozen different ways to do it. Just set up a non-profit, give it some grants to get started, loan guarantees, etc. Then it is no longer a municipal utility, but a private corporation with all the rights that have been won through the lobbying of the big private corporations.

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