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Alan Turing Pardoned

bongomanaic Re:Not enough, (415 comments)

The problem with issuing a blanket pardon for anyone convicted of the same offence as Alan Turing is that 'indecency' was applied broadly to a range of sexual behaviours, some of which remain illegal (e.g. sex with a person under the age of 16). When the crimes of indecency between men and buggery were abolished a procedure was put in place to remove legal disadvantages from those with convictions for behaviour that was no longer illegal. Speaking as a gay man I don't think it would be a worthwhile use of government resources to re-examine all previous convictions to determine which are worthy of a pardon -- the apology and pardon for Alan Turing makes the point well enough.

about a year ago
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UK Police Launch Campaign To Shut Down Torrent Sites

bongomanaic Re:define "serious" (244 comments)

The phrase used in the legislation is "in the course of a business" it doesn't require a direct sale of the infringing work or even for a profit to be made -- distribution or public exhibition of the infringing work is enough. A better analogy would be exhibiting a film without the copyright holders permission in order to drive sales of popcorn.

about a year and a half ago
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UK Bloggers Could Face Libel Fines Unless Registered As Press

bongomanaic Re:Libel... (394 comments)

That was concerned with breach of privacy rather than defamation.

about a year and a half ago
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UK Bloggers Could Face Libel Fines Unless Registered As Press

bongomanaic Re:Libel... (394 comments)

You understanding is faulty. Justification (truth) is a complete defence in English law.

about a year and a half ago
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Virginia Woman Is Sued For $750,000 After Writing Scathing Yelp Review

bongomanaic Re:Shrug (424 comments)

Almost. You will successfully defend a libel case if you can prove that the defamatory statements are substantially true, regardless of whether privacy was breached. What has changed is that it has become somewhat easier to win a claim for breach of privacy: Human rights law in England recognises both the right to freedom of expression and the right to a private and family life and courts have been left to try to balance these competing rights whilst Parliament dodges the issue.

about 2 years ago
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David Cameron 'Orders New Curbs On Internet Porn'

bongomanaic Re:Just porn? (345 comments)

I don't agree that the choices for parents trying to do their best should be limited to total surveillance of their children or total abstinence from internet use. The Internet is not just a toy for geeks any more, it is an important part of culture and community. Good parenting is as much about setting boundaries and allowing children freedom within those boundaries. The problem is that setting up and managing your own content filters demands skills that most people don't have and, with increasing numbers of internet-connected devices in homes, device-level filtering is becoming impractical. For most parents who want to place boundaries on their children's internet use the only reasonable way to do this is an off-the-peg solution at ISP level. The only burden on those who want an unfiltered connection is an extra click when signing up for a new ISP, which is a very small price to pay for the expansion of choice that this scheme provides. Nobody's pretending these filters are perfect, or that a determined child won't find ways round them, but at least if they do this they know they've crossed the boundary that has been set for them.

about 2 years ago
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Kaspersky Says Lack of Digital Voting Will Be Democracy's Downfall

bongomanaic Re:Suitable technology needed to improve choices. (388 comments)

The voting system is only one factor favouring the entrenched two party system in the USA; Other countries with plurality systems typically have more than two significant parties. A more important factor in entrenching the two party system in the USA is the idealogical promiscuity of the main parties -- they happily accommodate extreme views and do not impose party discipline on elected representatives.

more than 2 years ago
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Proposed UK Online Libel Rules Would Restrict Anonymous Posting

bongomanaic Re:Don't make US free speech arguments (219 comments)

This is false. In England and Wales it is a complete defence to show that the defamatory imputation is substantially true.

more than 3 years ago
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EU Parliament Group Opposes Long Copyrights and Oppressive DRM

bongomanaic Re:juchu pirate party (172 comments)

Green parties have been at the forefront of the fight against software patents and for digital rights in Europe since before the first Pirate Party was founded. It's just that they don't think it's the only important issue.

more than 3 years ago
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British Schoolkids To Be Taught Computer Coding

bongomanaic It may make things worse. (247 comments)

The number of entries for GCSE ICT has halved in the last five years, and not because the course is insufficiently challenging or technical. The reason is that due to the league tables schools have a powerful incentive to push their students into worthless 'vocational' courses that are even easier and duller than GCSE. Making the GCSE more technically challenging will not improve this state of affairs.

more than 3 years ago
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UK To Get Whitespace Radio

bongomanaic Re:BS (71 comments)

In fact the rural poor do significantly worse than the urban poor in England, and the gap is greater the further you get from the big cities. I can think of at least two reasons for this: rural schools are less well funded than urban schools, and access to pre-school and nursery care is worse in rural areas.

more than 3 years ago
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UK Pursues Tax Evaders Using Stolen Bank Details

bongomanaic Re:Two Wrongs. . . (315 comments)

English law is at the other end of the exclusionary-inclusionary scale from the US, with Scotland somewhere in the middle. In general English courts will admit improperly obtained evidence so long as it is relevant and doesn't impact too greatly on the fairness of the proceedings.

more than 4 years ago
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Legal Threat Demands Techdirt Shut Down

bongomanaic Global publisher (346 comments)

It's true that Mr Morris is not acting wisely, but I'd have more sympathy for Techdirt if they were not serving up UK ads to UK readers. Profiting from globally publishing antisemitic comments hardly gives them the moral high ground regardless of the legal issues.

more than 4 years ago
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Ask the UK Pirate Party's Andrew Robinson About the Issues

bongomanaic Cooperation with the Green Party (391 comments)

Since your core policies are very similar to those of the Green Party on these issues, will you be supporting the Green Party in their target seats?

more than 4 years ago
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In UK, Oink Admin Cleared of Fraud

bongomanaic Re:Conspiracy? (156 comments)

'Conspiracy to defraud' is a catch-all common law offence that is committed when a third party suffers a loss as a result of an agreement between others. It is not necessary to show that the action agreed to by the conspirators would be unlawful, but there does need to be an element of dishonesty. In this case the co-conspirators were the users of the site and the 'victims' were the copyright holders.

more than 4 years ago
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In Britain, Better Not Call It Bogus Science

bongomanaic Blame the British press (754 comments)

Until very recently Legal Aid and no-win no-fee arrangements were not available for libel, so the libel court was inaccessible to all but the wealthiest individuals. The British press exploited this by regularly defaming people without any fear of legal retribution. The law remained claimant-friendly since those cases that made it to court were almost invariably the strongest cases. Whilst it would be personally bad for Simon Singh if he lost this case such an affront to common sense could provide the momentum for the law to be changed.

more than 5 years ago
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Alan Turing Gets an Apology From Prime Minister Brown

bongomanaic Re:Grudgingly given apology? (576 comments)

I think it's just you. One thing of which the Labour governments since 1997 cannot be accused is not taking LGBT rights seriously -- they have pushed through legislation addressing discrimination despite concerted opposition on several occasions. This petition gives the government the opportunity to say something they are happy to say.

more than 5 years ago
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$33 Million In Poker Winnings Seized By US Govt

bongomanaic Re:Laws, schmores (465 comments)

That is an utterly ridiculous claim. The reason why the WTO ruled against the USA is because it is clearly in breach of its obligations under the treaties. The WTO has held that the USA has the right within the treaties to ban remote gambling, but that they haven't completely banned remote gambling, instead they have restrictions that unfairly discriminate in favour of US-based operators. The USA can resolve the problem either by completely banning remote gambling or by ending the discrimination. There are apparently domestic political difficulties that prevent the USA from following either course, but that is irrelevant in determining whether the USA has adhered to the rules it agreed to be bound by.

more than 5 years ago
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Adblock Plus Maker Proposes Change To Help Sites

bongomanaic Re:Who uses these things anyway? (615 comments)

There's probably about half a dozen sites in my whitelist, and they are those that I value and that have politely requested that I disable ABP on their site. My motivation for blocking by default is that I don't like ads. On the rare occasions that I watch commercial TV, visit the cinema or read a print magazine I find the ads intrusive and irritating, but the amount and type of advertising in these media is predictable in advance and I can make an informed choice about whether I want to expose myself to it. The WWW is different -- it is a mixture of commercial and non-commercial content and generally there is no way of predicting in advance whether a site is saturated with annoying ads, has a few discreet text ads or is ad-free. ABP gives me the same ability to control how much advertising I am exposed to as with other media. If ABP decide to subvert this by adding nag banners or popups at the behest of websites then the first fork that removes this will get my donation.

more than 5 years ago
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Voting Machines and 'Calibration Drift'

bongomanaic Re:Calibrate Per Use? (217 comments)

This already happens - the UN observes US federal elections indirectly through a mandate to the OSCE (http://www.osce.org/odihr-elections/14676.html). Each time they report that US elections are generally free and fair, and each time report the same defects that need to be addressed: Lack of transparency in electronic voting, inconsistent registration procedures, disenfranchisement of felons and DC residents, gerrymandering, burdensome ballot access requirements, conflicts of interests for election officials, and that in some areas voters party affiliation is made public.

more than 5 years ago

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