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The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

bennetthaselton Re:Victim blaming? (622 comments)

That was already my starting point with the article. The article was about how people were literally saying "This bad thing happened because she took a non-zero risk", and strongly implying that this was a criticism of her, as if she had made a mistake. And my response is that that is fallacious, because it ignores the benefits. I feel like I just said this??

about a week ago
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The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

bennetthaselton Re:Victim blaming? (622 comments)

It depends if you are making this statement with the implication that she should not have done it.

If you are implying that she should not have done it, then I would say that's fallacious because you're looking only at the risks, not the benefits of her action.

If you are not implying that she shouldn't have done it -- if you are simply saying "If you take a risk of a bad event happening, then the probability of that bad event is non-zero", without implying any criticism of her actions -- then of course that's true, but also so obvious that why bother saying it?

In the overwhelming majority of cases where commenters are saying "If you don't want nude photos to leak, don't take any", their tone generally implies that their comments fall in the first category (implicitly criticizing her for taking the photos), and that's the fallacy I'm attacking.

about a week ago
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The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

bennetthaselton Re:Celebrities are targeted more. (622 comments)

Yeah, I think you're right. Perhaps the probability of a celebrity account being hacked should not be estimated based on the probability of the average account being hacked.

It might be more appropriate to say that she correctly estimated the probability to be low, because nothing like this (large-scale hacking of celebrity cloud storage accounts) had happened before, even though presumably people are trying all the time to hack (especially female) celebrities' cloud storage accounts.

about a week ago
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The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

bennetthaselton Re:Is there some kind of sjw story quota now? (622 comments)

What do you mean by "secured their data" in this context?

Even if the data had been stored encrypted on Apple's servers, her cloud login password would have decrypted the files whenever she logged in, so if someone stole or brute-forced her password, they would have gotten the photos anyway.

Unless you mean encrypting the files using a separate protocol, before transmitting them to her boyfriend. It's probably safe to say that it would be a losing battle to try and persuade the majority of users to do this.

Or did you mean to simply delete the photos after they'd been shared? Perhaps, but sometimes it's hard to tell if something has been deleted for good. When you delete a file from Apple's cloud storage, does it get moved temporarily to a "trash" folder where it could be recovered later?

Perhaps the option most likely to actually be adopted by users, would be for the cloud storage company to implement a snapchat-style sharing feature, where any photos uploaded to a particular folder, will be automatically deleted (forever) after a certain time period.

about a week ago
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The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

bennetthaselton Re:Victim blaming? (622 comments)

Well OK, instead of "victim blaming" you could call it "telling someone that the only way to reduce a risk to zero is to not take the risk at all".

However, I would argue it's making the same logical fallacy -- looking only at the risk of an action, not the benefit.

Everybody already knows that the only way to absolutely guarantee that your nude selfies don't get out, is not to take any. If they do it anyway, it's not because they don't realize this fact. It's because there are benefits to taking nude selfies, and they're weighing the benefits.

Now you could argue that they're weighing the risks and benefits incorrectly, but that would require a separate argument.

about a week ago
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The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

bennetthaselton Re:Reality? (622 comments)

Because if you judge the probability of an event to be very low, just because that event happens, does not mean you were incorrect. I don't think the leak was a "probable negative", because large-scale leaks of cloud photo storage, are very rare. (I assume this event was the largest ever.)

about a week ago
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The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

bennetthaselton Re:Victim Blaming vs Common Sense (622 comments)

I think what you're saying is true. My point is that it's a bad analogy for the nude photo hack because: (1) Large-scale hacks of cloud storage like this, are pretty rare, so the odds of her photos being hacked were much smaller than the odds of a car being stolen with the keys in the ignition. The fact that it did happen, does not mean that JLaw was wrong to estimate that the probability was very low. (2) There are benefits to sending nude selfies, whereas there's not much benefit to leaving your keys in the ignition of your Ferrari.

about a week ago
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The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

bennetthaselton Re:Straw Man (622 comments)

You're right, I should have said

As commenters continue to blame Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities for "allowing their nude photos to be stolen"

to make it clear that I was quoting the mindset of the victim-blamers, and not describing what I think.

about a week ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:So many things wrong here... (253 comments)

Well what's more resource-efficient, having thousands of customers keep a spare cheap phone at home as a standby replacement, or having the store keep a few to give out as loaners?

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:So many things wrong here... (253 comments)

Econ 101 also teaches that that conclusion is only valid when certain pre-conditions are met. If those pre-conditions are not met then there's no reason to assume the market solution is optimal. In particular, if users don't know about a particular advantage or disadvantage of a product at purchase time, then the market solution won't be optimal. Take Comcast throttling of its' users access to BitTorrent; do you think that's what the users wanted? In the case of phone insurance, most users have no idea when walk out of the store with a new phone, whether the store would give them a loaner phone if they made an insurance claim to get their main phone replaced. So the precondition for market optimality is not met.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:So many things wrong here... (253 comments)

Well obviously I assume they'd pass the costs on in the insurance premium (which means you won't be subsidizing my dumb ass if you forgo the insurance). My argument is that the benefit to consumers of not having to go without a phone for two days, is great enough, that most of them would come out ahead, even after the increased costs get passed on.

My real goal was not to gain sympathy (on Slashdot?). The point I'm making in many of these articles is that we should not assume "the market" will lead to optimal solutions. People have accepted or argued for many terrible situations by blindly assuming that "the market" leads to what's best for us -- if that were really true, there would be no Net Neutrality issue, for example, because if a company were blocking or slowing access to a website, customers would just leave that company. It doesn't work that way in real life, which is why Net Neutrality is an issue.

I happen to think every example of market failure helps to get the point across. I don't much care about the phone.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:So many things wrong here... (253 comments)

Well I'd need a smartphone to keep using it the way I'd use my normal phone, and the backup phone would have to be purchased without a contract, meaning a few hundred dollars at least. I doubt every '"sane person" does that :) If you mean a backup dumbphone, well maybe, but it's much harder to adjust to trying to find people and places when you're on the go, when you've suddenly lost Internet.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:Agree 100% (253 comments)

Well first of all you're double-counting if you're adding the $6500 in inventory cost PLUS the $3500 from depreciation :) If the depreciation of the phones is a loss, it's a depreciation on an asset that you still have, so you can't also count the up-front cost of the phone as a loss at the same time.

Also, it's unrealistic to think you'd need 10 of EVERY phone. It's not as if 10 people are all going to make replacement claims on the same model in the same 2 days (it takes at most 2 days for the replacements to arrive from the insurance provider).

More generally, it would probably benefit enough customers enough, if there were just a requirement to provide loaner phones while replacing the insurance phones, even if the loaner phones wouldn't have to be exactly the same model. I was probably overreacing on the idea of having loaner phones in every model since I really, really prefer having a slide-out keyboard, but even I could live with a virtual keyboard for one day.

This can't be that much of an imposition, because it's something that some cell phone stores actually do. (But not all of them, and that's where customers get screwed because they have no working phone for two days.)

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:working capital (253 comments)

says the guy commenting five levels deep :-P

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:working capital (253 comments)

That would indeed minimize the cost. But the goal should not be to minimize cost but to maximize benefit-minus-cost. (Otherwise, you could just sell empty boxes without phones in them, to "minimize cost".) Having a loaner phone that is guaranteed available to consumers to borrow while their replacement phone is being mailed to them, would benefit consumers a lot for only a little cost.

My goal was not really to get a regulation like this passed. My goal was to get people thinking about how often the market leads to non-optimal solutions, because there is a lot of dogma claiming that the market cannot make mistakes like this, and it needs to be counteracted.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:Agree 100% (253 comments)

The specific circumstances that apply to cell phones are (1) they're really small, so it would cost the store less to carry spares, than, say, for an auto dealership to carry spare cars; and (2) when people's phones break, there's a huge benefit to them of getting a new one right away instead of waiting several days.

After all, as some commenters pointed out, some stores provide free loaner phones voluntarily, so it can't be that hard.

My problem is with the assumption that the free market will take care of these things by itself, and so whatever "the market" has given us must already be resource-optimal. That's only true for attributes of a product that the customer is fully aware of up-front when they're comparing options. If customers don't know in advance what the experience will be like to get a phone replaced, there's no reason to expect people to make the most informed choice when buying the phone and the insurance in the first place.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:Agree 100% (253 comments)

I would not be in favor of this regulation for a small business, but there aren't a lot of mom-and-pop cell phone carriers.

If there were some carriers small enough that this would be truly burdensome, it could always be written into the regulation that the requirement only applied to companies with more than X number of stores.

My point is that the benefit to the consumer would be a lot less than the cost to the company, which means customers would come out ahead even if the companies passed the costs along.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:Agree 100% (253 comments)

Yeah I was thinking that it would probably be good enough for most customers making insurance claims, if the store were just required to give out a loaner phone, not necessarily the same model. I would have strongly preferred the same model since I'm hooked on my slideout keyboard, but a virtual keyboard phone is better than nothing.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:So many things wrong here... (253 comments)

Well (1) we had been talking to them from beside their boat for a while before; (2) I couldn't believe it either; (3a) we were not in the lock, we were in the canal waiting area waiting to go into the lock; (3b) this lock in question was being filled up, not drained, reducing the risk of being sucked under; and (3c) in any case it's moot because I didn't get into the water, I got into their boat, at emergency speed, and the phone fell out of my pocket into the water at the bottom of their boat, not into the canal.

Now, (4) what if we mitigated the cost to the store by (a) only requiring them to give out a loaner phone, not necessarily the same model that you have (as I wrote elsewhere, I hate anything that doesn't have a slide-out keyboard, but I'd live) and (b) only requiring the loaner phones to be available from some store in the area, not necessarily the one where you bought your phone?

about a month and a half ago
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Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

bennetthaselton Re:working capital (253 comments)

Thanks, this is a lot more thoughtful than a lot of the ranting comments that got posted in response. So what if you minimized the cost by (1) only requiring the loaner phones to be available from one store in the area, that the customer could drive to (instead of in every retail location) and (2) only requiring the store to give out a loaner phone, not necessarily the same model. Now you've driven the cost down from $2,500 per store to $50, per, say, every 10 stores, or $5 per store? Presumably that's a much less burdensome regulation.

about a month and a half ago

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