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  • May 10th, 2021 @ 12:49pm

    not sure what is more worrying here

    The government spying on journalists. Or the government giving access to classified documents to people it considers stupid enough to leak them to the media using their own phones and email accounts.

  • Mar 15th, 2021 @ 1:45pm

    Encryption Is Just For Criminals

    'Criminals' is not a nice word to use to describe the US Army and other government agencies who use encryption to protect classified information.

  • Mar 8th, 2021 @ 11:10am

    And while police are busy chasing junkies ...

    ... and the FBI sits around brainstorming ideas to nudge legislators into requiring encryption backdoors, mobs of domestic terrorists are free to storm into the very heart of our democracy.

    Large uninhibited by law enforcement, who are busy elsewhere.

  • Jan 31st, 2021 @ 1:11am

    What do we need to innovate?

    Lewis Latimer is a great example. But it would help to dig deeper. What kind of person was he, what motivated him, what were his goals?
    Sure, he improved Edison's invention to a point that it became commercially successful.

    But would he had done that without being employed by Edison? Without a monthly pay cheque, without colleagues to collaborate with, and without Edison funding his research, and commercializing the results?

    Hard to say.

    Another angle is to look at environments (Building 32 at MIT), people (Steve Jobs), Institutions (DARPA) oder programs (let's put a man on the moon) that stimulate innovation.

    Patents are a piece of the puzzle. But there are many others.

    As for innovators being white and male, there are great examples of women leading the way. And not always being credited for it.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosalind_Franklin (It is not clear who really should be credited for the discovery, Rosalind Franklin's story just illustrates how innovation might work, and how difficult it can be to attribute credit).

  • Jan 27th, 2021 @ 6:52am

    Best not to mix two issues

    If Gamestop wants to have a future, they will indeed need to come up with new ideas for making money with selling DVDs getting out of fashion. Fair point.

    The question whether shortsellers should make that decision for the company is a different one, though.

    As is the question if shortsellers add value to the economy, and what that value might be. The stock market crash 2008 should have alerted us to the dangers of financial finickery on a large scale, and Gamestop suggests that it hasn't.

    Maybe we should let Gamestop and its customers figure out if there is a future for Gamestop, and start weeding out financial constructions that provide benefits only for their masters and huge annoyances, if not risks, for everybody else.

  • Jan 22nd, 2021 @ 12:41am

    Leaving Parler aside ...

    ... this case puts a big question mark behind the strategy to work with cloud services in general.

    Even if Amazon's lawyers have written provisions into their small print that gives Amazon the right to immediately, without warning and with giving time for arguments or remedy, pull the plug on an entire platform because they believe that some users of a service may have posted inappropriate content?
    Not courts involved, nothing illegal done by Amazon's customer (Parler, in this case), just an allegation that "Parler could have done more" to police their customer's content?

    Amazon may have written itself a legal basis for acting the way they did.

    But they have also put a big question mark behind every customer's decision to work with them.

  • Jan 15th, 2021 @ 1:45am

    Isn't everybody missing the point here?

    With Section 230 still in place - what is the legal basis for a hoster shutting down a service purely because of public sentiment?

    Sure, after being kicked of Twitter and some other platforms, Trump and his followers need a new home, and Parler was a good candidate.

    But "people might use the platform to do things that other people might not like" is not a basis for shutting down the platform. Neither is a request from more censorship than a platform might be willing to provide.

    And isn't it a perversion of justice when a court decides that people have to PAY to enjoys the basic rights provided by the constitution?

    Rumors are that following the shutdown of Parler (by a private company, not a government or a court!), Telegram has started to delete messages that some people might not like.

    What a great new world!

    PS: if internet platforms played as big a role as alleged - how come NSA, CIA, FBI and all the other agencies that sift through every byte passing through the internet 24/7 with armies of bots and even more armies of trained analysts failed to spot what was going to happen? Their very job is to protect America, especially Washington, for exactly what happened on January 6th? And they failed to warn congress, they failed to alert the police in time?
    Could it be that the attacks on internet platforms are just window dressing to protect the real culprits?

  • Jan 14th, 2021 @ 8:46am

    Is there any valid reason why cops can access the videos first?

    The grand jury-argument used by the police in the example is an interesting one: Would justice be served better if videos were secured in a safe escrow, and released only to the grand jury or other investigators after all parties have submitted statements?
    If the goal were "the trust, and nothing but the truth", such video evidence would go a long way in encouraging cops to explain what really happened.

  • Jan 7th, 2021 @ 11:02am

    Starving musians? Really?

    How much of those 1600 pounds ends up with musicians?

    If PRS works like all the other collection agencies, they'll take a good share for themselves. Another good share for "unknown musicians" that happen to live abroad (and can't be traced, mainly because PRS can be bothered to try finding them. They'll have to keep the money, in that case.) Then rightsholders need to be paid, fees deducted.

    And then there is a distribution scheme that favours some (established) musicians heavily over some other (not so established) musicians. Mainly because the former have been around long enough to tweak the system in their favour. And the pubs pay a flat fee and don't submit playing lists that would allow paying the musicians who actually provided the music that was played.

    So - how much money does a musician get from those 1600 pounds?

  • Nov 26th, 2020 @ 12:33pm

    We should be grateful to NATURE

    No other publisher has managed to make so perfectly clear how the rights holder would like to split the profits along the value chain.

    For every Nature-Article, researchers have spent years getting an education that enables them to conduct research on the level required by a top journal. They have then spent months, if not years, researching the topic, and weeks to write a concise report summarizing findings, methods and the state of research on the topic in the format of a NATURE article.

    Essentially, researcher do the work of very thorough journalists - and Nature expects them to do it free of charge.

  • Nov 23rd, 2020 @ 4:44am

    You are kind of late - about 4 years and 6 weeks ...

    The incident happened early September 2016, Facebook reinstated the photo within hours, following a public outcry, and updated its guidelines a few weeks later

    While an update would be interesting, to see if and how the new guidelines work, it would have been nice to clarify that the article is about ancient history and not current events. Putting 2016 in the headline is not enough when the article ends with a suggestion that the situation is ongoing.

    https://petapixel.com/2016/10/24/facebook-updates-censorship-policy-avoid-another-napalm-gi rl-issue/

    Google search (see dates on results - Sept 9 (censored) Sept 10 (reinstated) Oct 26 (new Facebook guidelines). All four years ago - 2016

  • Oct 22nd, 2020 @ 5:58am

    The main problem is the lack of clear goals

    If the crime rate now is half of what it was thirty years ago - is that good enough? Can we tolerate a bit more crime for a lot more freedom (and much smaller police budgets?).

    Ever since 9/11, anyone associated with security services seems to work on the assumption that crime and terrorism can - and must be - eliminated completely. Instead of basing proposals on solid analysis, police use story telling and anecdotes to request more resources. (a single guy trying to smuggle explosives on a plane in the sole of his shoes led to instructions for millions of air passenger to remove their shoes before boarding).

    And if we want the world to be perfectly safe and free of crime and terrorism, Barr's speech makes a lot sense. We need more police with more authorizations. Better weapons and more surveillance. Obviously more police officers. It will work - there is practically no crime in totalitarian police states.

    Practically no freedom, either.

    So maybe we'll need to think about where to draw the line. And then get Bill Barr and his police teams to explain what they need to achieve the goals. And what other options they have. Force them to choose between a shiny new tank or half a dozen more officers to patrol the streets. And hold them accountable if the new surveillance authorisation they lobbied for does not lead to an agreed number of convictions.

  • Oct 11th, 2020 @ 12:12am

    On a scale of 0 to 100 ...

    ... how many % of internet "engage in disinformation"?

    Bonus question: How do we know the US government is right and not their Iranian counterpart? It used to be that both sides get to make their case, and the public makes up their mind ...

  • Sep 16th, 2020 @ 6:19am

    Has anybody ever calculated the cost of copyright enforcement?

    It is easy for rightsholders to keep throwing ever-increasing demands for what others should do to secure the profits of the copyright industry.

    Has anybody ever calculated the cost society pays to secure the monopoly profits of Hollywood & Co? And has anybody ever considered to make rightsholders pay for what they demand? They do have the right to use DRM to stop piracy, and they do have the right to NOT put stuff on the internet that they don't want shares (yes, you, newspaper publishers - you did not invent the internet, you did not pay for it, yet now it is there, you demand a human right to force people to pay for whatever you choose to dump there. Print it on paper if you can't figure out digital business models!)

  • Aug 15th, 2020 @ 12:14pm

    On the other hand ...

    ... why would anybody elect someone into the White House who is incapable of even operating a postal service?

  • Jul 31st, 2020 @ 8:34am

    Government and Media have abused our Trust over and over, ...

    ... and they are paying the price. More precisely - we all are paying the price.

    There have always been people making things up. Generally, nobody cared. Because people would rather believe the government and the media, who had a reputation for being reliable.

    Until government and media figured out the people would trust them regardless of whether they were telling truth.

    After the government got away with the starting a war (Iraq) based on lies, all dams broke away. Constitutional boundaries that had worked well for centuries were removed by the magic words "national security". International contracts - written and unwritten ones - were broken to gain some short term benefits. And trade wars were - and are being - started to promote interests of American companies.

    George Floyd and Corona weren't the first sign that the foundations had eroded behind all the blustering. But they have opened the eyes of many that the government had stopped function. Stopped being meet even the most basic requirements of a government.

    Which means it does not take make much for people to look elsewhere for answers.

    That is the problem, and not some idiots blaming China or 5G-Technology for the outbreak of Corona in Ameriaca.

  • Jul 28th, 2020 @ 10:50am

    What kind of licences are available to libraries?

    In the old days, they would buy a book at retail price, wrap it in plastic, and lend it out forever.

    With digital books, there was an outcry by writers and publishers about real books wearing out really fast, so digital licenses should expire very quickly. And cost tons more than retail books, due to all the advantages they offer to libraries and readers, and the lost sales.

    Does anybody know what licensing models are available to libraries these days for digital books? And what conditions are attached (can someone lend a book in another city? country? continent?)

  • Jul 24th, 2020 @ 6:25am

    And why would CBP care about hit and runs?

    It is not the CBPs job to solve crimes or to sanction traffic transgressions. Their job is to protect borders. At the border, and not in the middle of the country. And yes, that should exclude airports. Even if CPB is in charge of checking incoming flight passengers, that does not involve cars - there is simply not enough space in the overhead locker to fit your Tesla.

  • Jul 23rd, 2020 @ 10:31am

    If the arrests are fake ...

    ... is there any evidence that all of the folks in silly uniforms and unmarked vehicles are, in fact, federal officers?

    In countries that not are not stellar democracies, it is quite common for, eh, concerned citizens to jump in and help the government "remove" the "troublemakers" off the streets. Permanently.

    One wonders if we can be sure that that is not happening in the US right now, too.

  • Jul 23rd, 2020 @ 1:18am

    Can't help to be reminded of one of Donald Trump's predessors ..

    ... who sent troups to Irak to Irak to "kick Sadam's ass".

    The ass-kicking was spectacularly successful and made great television. At first. After that, not much good came out of it. Not for Irak, and not for America.

    But that won't be Trump's problem, either way.

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