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Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook

flopsquad Re:Eltern haften für Ihre Kinder (319 comments)

Not here in the USA, parent's are financially responsible for their children until they are 18. I know because I got emancipated when I was 17 because I had left home at 16 and my parents didn't want to be responsible for anything I did.

That is, as I posted above, not correct.** Your sentence permits multiple meanings, however.

Parents are financially responsible for providing food/care/shelter/etc to (unemancipated) minor children. That may have been important in your situation. Simply moving away from home wouldn't magic away your parents' responsibility to provide for your well-being--you'd have to be self-sufficient and (probably) emancipated.

On the other hand, parents are not, in general, vicariously liable for just any old tort, crime, debt, or other shenanigan wrought by their children. It can happen, usually when a parent knew or had reason to know but failed to act to prevent the child from causing harm. In your case, living independently away from home, it would be very hard for a plaintiff to argue your parents had actual or constructive knowledge of anything, really. You didn't need to be emancipated for your parents to be legally clear of your hijinx.**

But either your folks didn't know that, or they played card #2 with their eyes on card #1.

**The general rule at common law is that acts of minor children are not imputed to parents. Various states have enacted various measures to hold parents liable for certain acts, e.g. those of which they had/should have had knowledge, negligent entrustment with a dangerous instrument, a child's willful and malicious conduct that results in grave injury or death (even then the liability is usually capped). If you grew up in Hawaii, my apologies, you are correct that your parents were liable for pretty much anything you did.

3 days ago
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Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook

flopsquad Re:Yawn (319 comments)

That's entirely incorrect. In both the civil and criminal realms, there are only specific circumstances in which a parent is liable for a child's actions. States say it all different kinds of ways, with different age thresholds for a child's responsibility generally, but one formulation is "A parent is only liable for the tort or violent act of the child if that parent knew or had reason to know the child [had a history of doing X]/[presented a danger to because of condition X]/[was planning to do X]/[was actually in the act of doing X]."

As is the case here, the parent's initial defense was "We didn't have reason to know until it had already happened!" and the appeals court said "Yeah but you had actual knowledge of the ongoing defamatory act and a jury might find you had a duty to stop it."

But in general, no. In the US, if your always-peaceful child spazzes out and punches someone, or does some property damage, or shoots someone (with $notYourGun), you're not generally ("vicariously") liable (as an employer might be) in either civil or criminal law. Another example: you are not liable if they somehow manage to obtain a credit card in their own name and rack up debt, and neither are they (contract is voidable at the minor's will), which is why CC companies don't give credit cards to minors without mom or dad cosigning.

In the sense that sibling AC means, yes, you are "responsible" for raising your kids to not do shitty shit, and for disciplining them when they do. And most parents of conscience would take moral responsibility and pay for the broken window, apologize (and get junior to apologize) for the rude remarks he made to his teacher, or make sure the nasty FB page was taken down.

3 days ago
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Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook

flopsquad Re:Summary is _grossly_ wrong. (319 comments)

Indeed. The GA Court of Appeals did not say that (quoting TFS) "Parents can be held liable for what their kids post on Facebook." What they did say is that the parents' 11 months of inaction, after they were given notice of their son's defamatory FB profile, could constitute negligence. A reasonable jury could possibly find that not telling your kid to take such content down was negligent, and it's a question for the jury. Thus the subject matter of this case is on the internet, but it's not really about the internet. The parents could be liable under the same theory if they knew their son was handing out flyers with this defamatory content and did nothing for 11 months.

For those less acquainted with the trial process in the US, this appeal by the plaintiff parents (of the defamed girl) was from the trial court's granting of summary judgment in favor of the defendant parents (of the defaming boy). This is type of motion usually happens before any of the actual "trial-y" kinds of things like impaneling a jury and witness testimony, and it's based only on each side's contentions and the undisputed facts that both parties have agreed on. The defendant parents essentially argued, "Based on all the facts we stipulated to, and looking at the plaintiffs' assertions in a light most favorable to them, they still can't win. Even if what they're arguing is 100% right, no reasonable jury could find against us. Judge, can you just end this thing now?"

Specifically, here, it appears they argued something like "The defamation occurred when junior posted that stuff, and we had no actual knowledge, nor reason to believe junior would do such a thing, until after the school told us--long after the defamatory act!" And the trial court judge said, roughly, "Yup, I'm not even going to let a jury hear this, no jury could find you liable for what your kid did. Parents aren't vicariously liable for their kids' torts, etc etc."

The appellate court said, in response, "Um, yeah fine, you're not on the hook for the acts that occurred before you knew. But after you knew, you did nothing to stop it or even inquire into it, and the defamation was ongoing that whole time. This is not an automatic slam dunk for you, defendants; you need to present your evidence and arguments to a jury."

Note that at the actual trial, the parents may be able to present a decent argument for why they didn't do anything (which behavior was very curious to me). Maybe the parents are luddites and they asked their son if he ripped all the bad pages out of the Facebooks and flushed them down the interweb tubes, and he said, "yeah sure." I don't know, but those are the kinds of factual arguments they'll have to make to a jury to explain why they let this go on so long after they knew.

3 days ago
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Microsoft Partners With Docker

flopsquad Re:Translation (104 comments)

clouds will consume enterprise developers

That one got me. Laugh almost woke up the wife.

4 days ago
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Microsoft Partners With Docker

flopsquad Re:What? (104 comments)

I assume MS is providing Windows for showing off mannequins in khakis, and Dockers is providing stylish shoes in a promotion to get people to walk away from the Apple store.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

flopsquad Re:A government picking the winners and losers? (232 comments)

Meh. On a notional level, I agree: regulate to prevent monopolies and safety hazards (etc) but otherwise let the market decide, the more competition the better. But this little town council doesn't have the power to effect meaningful legislation or regulation of a behemoth like Comcast. They can't break up monopolies or rain down 3-letter agencies.

They do have a choice in not granting what they consider a malevolent hellcorp the license to service their town. That's not The Government picking winners and losers, that's a small municipality saying foff to a bad actor.

FWIW, that "picking winners and losers" line is pretty threadbare as an idiom. It should get its own heading under the Wikipedia entry for the logical fallacy "Appeal to Limbaugh."

4 days ago
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Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

flopsquad Re:wow (562 comments)

Based on the lead inventor he name drops in the video, "Tom McGuire," I found a few recent fusion-related patent applications (filed this year). I couldn't find any issued fusion patents for Lockheed or McGuire.

20140301519
20140301518
20140301517

They are related to a raft of 2013 provisionals, which helps explain why Lockheed was talking publicly about this tech for the first time in the above 2013 YouTube video.

4 days ago
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Netflix Video Speed On FiOS Doubles After Netflix-Verizon Deal

flopsquad Re:Need municipal network. (204 comments)

^This, a thousand times. Unfortunately, telecom lobbyists spin these kinds of projects---pretty much the most pro-competition thing you can do in the broadband space---as anti-competitive, socialistic destruction of private business.

"Oh noes, big bad Peoria is going to bully poor little NBComcastWarner into bankruptcy! We can't let those damn commies in Big Government provide vital services to their citizens!"

5 days ago
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Who's In Charge During the Ebola Crisis?

flopsquad One could argue (279 comments)

One could argue that the United States is hobbled by an outdated constitution in responding to epidemics.

One could argue that, but one would be wrong. It's such a foolish, sensationalist, clickbaity thing to say that it obviates the need to even look at TFA.

The federal government, and specifically the executive, have constitutional authority to handle crises like an epidemic, coordinate a nationwide response, declare martial law, etc etc, whatever is necessary to address an existential threat. It's not even controversial. You'd get more pushback on renaming post offices

Yes, states have sovereign powers, and there are situations where that creates conflict. This is not one of those situations. If shit gets real (Outbreak style, though ebola isn't airborne), have not a shred of doubt that the CDC will take point and the US Army will roll in if need be. And the states will welcome them with open arms, because states do not have CDCs, or armies, or nationwide strategic stockpiles of medical supplies, or warzone-sized containment apparatus, or the world's best repurposed contact tracing agency, the NSA.

Next issue.

about a week ago
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Four Dutch Uberpop Taxi Drivers Arrested, Fined

flopsquad Re:Getting tired of this shit (280 comments)

Flop's 2nd Law: Never ascribe to astroturfing what can be adequately explained by strongly opinionated commenters.

Seriously, a lot of people (here on /. especially) believe in the idea of companies like Uber and Lyft, and are solidly against the many local protection rackets for taxi business. Many commenters are also US based and don't get the European viewpoint. Some also have an uncontrollable faux-libertarian vomit reflex whenever regulations of any kind are mentioned.

I own a car but still use Uber pretty frequently. I don't have any special connection to, or love for, the corporate entity that is Uber. In fact, if some of the nasty dial-and-ditch tactics Lyft alleges are true, that's pretty sleazy of Uber. But I've yet to hear a well-reasoned objection to the Uber/Lyft/rideshare model that isn't better answered by free markets and lower regulatory barriers to entry. And I am certainly not allergic to regulation as a matter of principle.

about a week ago
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Four Dutch Uberpop Taxi Drivers Arrested, Fined

flopsquad Re:Bullying (280 comments)

Oftentimes in history, yes it has been. TFA is short on details, so it's hard to say if that's the case here. Is it selective enforcement? An anti-Uber sting while other unlicensed cabs get a pass? How did the authorities nab these specific drivers? And regardless of the answer to any of those questions, charging the drivers a fine equal to the cost of a small/used car could be argued to be bullying right on its face.

about a week ago
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DoJ: Law Enforcement Can Impersonate People On Facebook

flopsquad Re:disgusting (191 comments)

It's posts like this that make me wish /. went up to +6.

about two weeks ago
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Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

flopsquad Re:Discovery? (740 comments)

Which goes to show that you should record all conversations you have with a company.

FTFY; you definitely have the right idea, but take it to the next level. Any time you are making a phone call over which you think there could be a future dispute, or you are being promised something (i.e. a resolution to your problem, the date a tech will come out and fix things, the BS taken off your bill), you should record it.

This is not legal advice, mind your state's wiretapping laws, etc. There should be a federal law that says "Any time you are having any kind of conversation or correspondence with a corporation, business, proprietorship, etc, you are allowed to record it and you cannot be prosecuted under any 'wiretapping' laws." That would be squarely under the commerce clause, given how broad it's been interpreted.

about two weeks ago
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Possible Reason Behind Version Hop to Windows 10: Compatibility

flopsquad Re:How badly coded are Windows applications? (349 comments)

What really whips the llama's ass is that regular expressions have been around in one form or another since before Microsoft was even founded.

If some half assed dev is going to check against a "Windows" text string rather than something sane like a kernel version number, the least they could do is grep Windows\s9[58] or (95)|(98) or 9\d.

about two weeks ago
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The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

flopsquad Re:the solution: (651 comments)

We have to make the laws that are reasonable to our time. The Constitution allowed slavery, for instance, and no vote for women. There are lots of things that we can look at now and say need (or needed) to be changed from the original document, with the perspective of the passing of 200 years.

Err, not saying you're wrong per se, in the context of an originalist vs "living document" sort of argument. But those two are terrible examples because changing them required exactly what GP called for: a constitutional amendment.

The argument is not "open carry for swords would be good for society" or "owning a howitzer is objectively reasonable" or "everything in the text of the original Constitution is perfect as written (including slavery and landed male suffrage)."

Rather, the argument is "if you think the results of a plain reading of the 2nd amendment are absurd and bad for society, change or repeal it rather than talking it into a half baked logic pretzel."

FWIW I agree that private ownership of S2A missiles is neither good nor reasonable.

about three weeks ago
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2015 Corvette Valet Mode Recorder Illegal In Some States

flopsquad Re:huh? (269 comments)

I wanted to make a technical point about all the one-party and all-party talk. It is not immediately clear that (audio) recording the valet while you're off at dinner satisfies either of those standards; depending on your state's law you may not be a party to the communication at all.

The commonsense reaction is "it's my car, my property, he's in it and has no expectation of privacy, and I'll record whatever I want." But if the valet calls his GF/bank/doctor/whoever and he's the only person in the car, he and the person on the other end are parties to the call and you are most likely not --> your recording that communication could be wiretapping (absurdly, a felony in many places).

This is not legal advice, at the very least because who the fuck knows what would happen in these completely uncharted waters. Can't stop here, this is bat country.

about three weeks ago
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Snowden's Leaks Didn't Help Terrorists

flopsquad Re:Then please stop snooping on us (183 comments)

+1 Whoosh

It has to be plus one, you see, so that next time, your head will be up a little higher and the comment won't sail over it but smack straight into it.

;)

about a month ago
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Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

flopsquad Re:Le monopole (418 comments)

That took a lot of GUTs.... *ducks*

about a month ago
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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

flopsquad Re:Great one more fail (600 comments)

Amen. There is a credible argument that our national attitude towards guns should change, and there is a damn near irrefutable argument that our national obsession with incarceration (over mostly nonviolent drug offenses) should change. But pillorying the two in the same breath, as if they were two heads of the same hydra, is incorrect. It may even be the same (type of) people who are overzealous about both, but these are completely separate issues.

about a month ago
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Securing the US Electrical Grid

flopsquad The quicker the better (117 comments)

Though it almost always comes down to $$, there are certainly steps that can and should be taken immediately. A significant grid attack combined with a power plant attack could quickly put the affected metro/region into survivalist panic mode.

Bonus points if the security upgrade process provides a convenient vehicle to modernize for things like solar sell-back ("smart grid"). I've always thought that power should (ideally) be more like decentralized network traffic, able to rout around damage and not dependent on single points of failure. Of course, historically it made zero sense to build a dozen mini-plants in neighborhoods when one big plant 30 miles away was more efficient and palatable. But relatively soon, we're going to be able to coat whole communities in rooftop "power plants", and that's a great thing.

about 2 months ago

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