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Comment The Real Problem (Score 1) 175

All else aside, we cannot allow Carte-Blanche for the reason tucked neatly into this sentence:

but also investigations into other murders, car accidents, drug trafficking and the proliferation of child pornography.

No matter how much emphasis we place on extra serious crimes like actual terrorism, high-level drug trafficking, and running global networks for child porn, The actual and prevalent use of the technology will be trivial matters like traffic accidents, failing to pick up after your dog, minor curfew violations, etc.

Comment Re:Not Quite (Score 1) 66

One years protection is definitely an improvement, but its still philosophically antithetical to the reason for patents to exist in the first place. Copyright should be sufficient protection, to keep people from stealing your code, but Software Patents protect the very idea, regardless of the means used to obtain it, in a way that physical patents do not.

Patents are designed to spur innovation by getting companies to share their secrets, so that a valuable portfolio of useful arts and sciences is built in the public domain (paraphrased from the Constitution Article 1). In return for sharing their secrets, the company is granted a limited exclusivity on the patented machine for a limited period of time designed such that the invention is still valuable after the exclusivity expires. Thats our first problem: Most software inventions are only good for about 5 years, which is less than copyright term. In that regard your proposal is spot on.

The bigger problem is however, that a patent on a machine makes only reasonably abstract claims, and the construction of the device must be reasonably concrete, meaning that substantially changing the design of the machine produces a new non-infringing product, even if the two devices perform the same task. Software patents however, are very very abstract, such that any means anyone could ever develop to perform a task that someone has patented an approach to, despite using a dramatically different approach, or developed without knowledge of the existing patent, is supposedly infringing. This is starkly different from Copyright, in that you generally have to know you are making an action that might infringe a copyright, by consuming an existing artefact.

Lastly, because Software Patents are so abstract (as opposed to patents on a physical machine or pharmaceutical) that when the exclusivity period is over, the secrets the inventor shared with the government are useless for further innovation in the public domain. This undercuts the entire purpose of Patents as described in the US Constitution, and only serves to promote anti-competitive practices for the companies profit.

Ultimately, there is no fix, that can make software patents work, unless every method in the algorithm is stated in the patent, such that you can create non-infringing approaches to achieve the same goal, which do not infringe, and so that the invention has worth to the public domain after exclusivity expires.

Comment Not lives, insurance company profits (Score 1, Informative) 186

In the end, this data will only be used to restrict care by algorithm, saving insurance company profits, at the expense of those lives which were statistically 'inconvenient'. Only with a single payer system could this achieve the ends Mr Page cites. My guess is far more than 100K lives will be lost in persuit of this new profit.

Comment Re:This is NOT a net neutrality issue (Score 1) 337

Thats not really true. one of the principal of NN is protocol neutrality, and QOS based on assumptions about protocol usage is one of the major items a neutral network cannot allow.

For instance, Comcast and several other ISPs got warnings and fines from the FCC over bittorrent management policies that were downright discriminatory.

If we can't choose our own protocols, or develop new ones without buyin from the ISPs, then their management practices can have a chilling affect on consumer choice, protocol development, and will raise the barrier for entry to new services that implement their own protocols as they see fit.

Comment WRONG (Score 1) 188

If this hadn't been publicly disclosed, it would have just gone into the 0-day libraries which Intelligence agencies around the globe have been amassing. We'd never learn we were vulnerable, and their ability to impersonate and eavsdrop would have increased beyond any reasonably-articulatable expectation.

Responsible disclosure to sufficient parties to address the issue would also expose it to potential attackers, and there will always be players with need-to-know who won't be identified for notification.

Comment Re:actors across series (Score 1) 276

The farscape/SG crossovers always had the feel of "throwing a dog a bone" after the dog's show was canceled/completed, and I blame that entirely on SyFy. They were unashamedly trying to use the stars existing clout to gain mind-share.

One example I can think of in B5 is Bestor (Walter Koenig aka Chekov), but he stands on his own, as did McGuyver in SG1. Chriton and Erin did not hold up nearly so well in alternate roles. I'm primarily thinking of people who played small, one-time parts (so perhaps Katsulas was not so great an example). Patricia Tallman for instance played many background roles in Startrek, but either did not speak, or was an alien.

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