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Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

martin-boundary Re:Cloudy, chance of rain (170 comments)

How is that insightful? You've completely missed the whole point of privacy laws. In law, your hard drive in your computer is yours, and it is not public unless you go out of your way to make it so. In particular, anyone who uses ssh to access your hard drive breaks the law, unless you've specifically authorized them to do so. Lots of people, some slashdot readers, have gone to jail for doing just that.

Also, your hard disk, in your computer, in your house isn't searcheable by law enforcement unless they have a warrant. So keep your stuff at home, and you'll be better off than leaving it on Dropbox (*).

(*) I can see you're unconvinced. Let me spell it out for you: if your file is on Dropbox, then a properly worded warrant needs to be served to Dropbox, and they'll allow searches and copies of anything their hard drives contain. Including your file, your neighbour's file, everybody's files. If everybody keeps their own files at home, then a warrant needs to be served to you, to see your files, but it won't work for your neighbour's files. Another warrant needs to be served to the neighbour to see his files. And it won't work for everybody else. A warrant needs to be served individually to everyone, just to get the same access that Dropbox can give with a single properly worded warrant.

2 days ago
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Researchers Print Electronic Memory On Paper

martin-boundary Re:Ink? Nope. (78 comments)

On a side note... I've recently bought an Intel NUC, and when I opened the packaging the box started playing the Intel Jingle (*). Totally creepy and wasteful, I couldn't believe it. Intel definitely jumped the shark IMHO. I don't buy crap that often, is this common already?

Oh and if any Intel engineers are reading this post, I'd love to hear what you think about that particular piece of genius.

2 days ago
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Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Rests On Battery Drain Claims

martin-boundary Re:ads (172 comments)

Because Google should not be in business to make money through harming people. They should just give you free stuff without harming me.

There. FTFY.

3 days ago
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Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Rests On Battery Drain Claims

martin-boundary Re:ads (172 comments)

MUCH more importantly, though, ads are draining your BANDWIDTH. It's important, because it's also a simple demonstrable harm. If you pay $30 per month for your internet bandwidth, and the ads use up half of it (conservative estimate), then ads are harming you at the rate of $15 per month. Because Google purposely don't allow you to block the ads in android (*), that is a clear, monetary, demonstrable, harm.

(*) Google should be forced to put a big red button on their settings that will block all ads coming into the android device, and all in-app advertising traffic, if the user presses it. It should be force to do so or else be held as an accomplice on bandwidth theft. (**)

(**) Yes, I know, I'm dreaming. But I'd support a class action suit that would aim to accomplish this.

3 days ago
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Google To Stop Describing Games With In-App Purchases As 'Free'

martin-boundary Re: Good. Now what about ads? (139 comments)

Tupperware. Look it up, before reflexively marking me off topic.

about a week ago
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Appeals Court Affirms Old Polaroid Patent Invalid

martin-boundary Re:amazing... (45 comments)

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

about a week ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

martin-boundary Re:The problem with criticism (424 comments)

Amazon censors some reviews under various guidelines, google it. The world is already more censored than it looks.

about two weeks ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

martin-boundary Re:The problem with criticism (424 comments)

Yes that's my point, positive or negative, if it's a review there must be truth behind it. We expect the same off scientific epxperiments, and that is what allows us to trust the results.

about two weeks ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

martin-boundary Re:The French way (424 comments)

That's a direct translation of "condemning with faint praise".

about two weeks ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

martin-boundary The problem with criticism (424 comments)

The problem with criticism in general, both positive and negative, is: how does anyone know if it's truthful?

It's easy to make up a story about going to some restaurant, and maybe you even actually went there, and if you did, who knows if you had a great service or not, maybe you were off your meds, and then for the hell of it, you write a scathing review. Or a great one as a prank for your friends.

On the internet, anybody can be a blogger and there's no quality control, just look at the kind of comments we get on Slashdot at -1. So while blogging is great and all, and saying whatever you like as a blogger is also great, if you're a blogger you should still put your neck on the chopping block like any normal journalist.

If you're going to say something, you'd better have definite proof, not just some random opinion. And if you get sued once in a while, accept it. It happens to professional journalists a lot. The trick is to back up your blogging claims with proper facts that you can actually show to a judge if asked.

about two weeks ago
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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

martin-boundary Re:So instead of "free" why don't they say "covere (309 comments)

So you are saying that Amazon has somehow found a way to actually ship items for free, to both the user and itself?

No, I'm saying that the cost of shipping cannot be accounted for as an integral part of the product price, rather it must be accounted for separately. If it is nevertheless accounted for as part of the price, then Amazon would be doing a bunch of illegal things.

about two weeks ago
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CDC Closes Anthrax, Flu Labs After Potentially Deadly Mix-Ups Come to Light

martin-boundary Re:Killing the employees seems a bit harsh (89 comments)

They just wanted to save the hassle of sending in the nukes. Do you know how much paperwork they make you sign for each obliterated virus outbreak these days? It's like initial this pdf to get the plane, sign that fuel requisition, assisinate two pesky reporters, on and on! I kid you not.

about two weeks ago
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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

martin-boundary Re:So instead of "free" why don't they say "covere (309 comments)

Because that is simply false. The cost of shipping is not simply a part of the cost of the product. It's the same product, regardless if you ship it to New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo or anywhere else in the world. Yet the shipping costs are clearly different. So if you tried to account for the shipping costs as an integral part of the product, you'd be guilty of various crimes, like tax evasion due to accounting fraud, and also price discrimination against some of your customers. Besides, you'd also be guilty of dumping, which is a variant of antitrust violation. And that's just in the US, mind you.

about two weeks ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

martin-boundary Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

But this isn't what this law is about. At least, that's not what I understand it to be about. For this given example, there should be a very specific law designed to handle it properly. This is more about forgetting things that you did (and somebody wrote on the internet), and not cases where you are a victim of a crime. At least, that's what I understand it to be for.

As I understand it, the law has been around for 20 years. It's about letting people, whose data is being collected by a company, demand to see what said company is recording about them, demand to correct data that isn't factual, and demand to be erased from said company's records if the person has (or no longer has) no business relationship with the company.

about three weeks ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

martin-boundary Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

Except what you're talking about is not so much helping you remember events, but rather helping you discover old events you didn't know about.

Think of it like this: lots of people today weren't born when the Watergate scandal happened, and lots of people don't even know who Richard Nixon was. But they can google him, and in this case Google isn't operating as a memory assistance device, but rather as a teaching device.

The problem is that whereas Watergate is a well known historical fact of some importance, most of the other facts that people discover using Google are hearsay, rumours, and opinion. The quality of information on the internet as a whole is worse than on Wikipedia. At least on Wikipedia the articles can be edited. Google's index should similarly be editable, I think that would raise its value to the level of Wikipedia hopefully.

about three weeks ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

martin-boundary Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

f you want to call it something else, like the-right-to-prevent-undesirable-information-from-being-copied-and-published, I have no objection. It's a mouthful though. And there are so many different possible reasons someone might have to request a removal, that it wouldn't be reasonable to make special rules for all of them.

Moreover, it may in fact be none of anyone else's business why. Does the battered wife really need to tell some Google employee that she let her husband beat her up for years, just so she can justify the removal of a link to her address? It's kind of nobody's business. And if the husband goes around telling everyone she stole some money from him, how many people are going to assume she's a scumbag who's trying to wipe her slate clean?

about three weeks ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

martin-boundary Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

Eh? Nobody's stopping you from remembering. That would be very difficult, and I suspect it would possibly involve trepanning.

about three weeks ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

martin-boundary Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

Sure, but not all true facts should remain in Google's index either. For example, half of all slashdot readers argue regularly that disclosing true documents to the public was traitorous as soon as Snowden did it, and that Google shouldn't link to them. Or think of this: disclosing the true address of a battered wife can lead to her husband finding her and beating her up, or worse. I'm sure you can find lots of examples yourself if you apply your mind to it.

about three weeks ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

martin-boundary Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

What we DONT want however is if I go raping or beating people I can get news articles about me supressed.

Why? That's silly and wrong. What we DONT want suppressed is the court records of that guy's conviction. He has been convicted of a crime, right? It's not just some news article that claims, nudge nudge wink wink, that there's been raping and beating of people, right? It's not just some search engine that collects that news article automatically, without reading it, and recommends that everybody should go read it when they search for the word grape ("did you mean rape? Here are some links for you").

Requiring the removal of unverified data from private third parties is perfectly reasonable . That says nothing about requiring the removal of verified public record data from the courts and official public information sources. Let's not confuse the issues.

about three weeks ago
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Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

martin-boundary Re:Blaming Google (239 comments)

Google doesn't publish any of the information it indexes.

Google cache. Google news. Enough said.

Google makes no claim to the veracity of their information, beyond trying to keep obvious attempts to game result sour of searches.

Which causes all sorts of potential slander and defamation headaches. Slander can be as simple as repeating an untruth, thereby sullying someone's reputation. As a private company without any special legal status, I would expect they should embrace the possibility that a simple request for removal from their index might prevent a more protracted legal proceeding. In fact, refusing to remove material when reasonably requested would likely qualify easily as obstruction.

Not really, they are following an accepted practice since the start of the internet [...] If you don't want them to crawl your site, a simple HTML tag will stop them unlike window washers who you may have to pull a weapon on to convince them to leave your property alone.

Except that, because Google is indiscriminate, they will repeat and amplify, for profit, any untruths that they happen to find on obscure websites. Suppose I accuse you by name of being a terrorist. You can attack me legally, but most likely my blog isn't worth the effort. But Google enhances and duplicates my outrageous claims to anyone, especially if I've been clever about it. So now you have a problem. While technically I originated the terrorist claim, Google is slandering you in this case orders of magnitude more than I. And both legally and practically, you really need to tell Google to stop.

I would say that is one POV. Independent of wether or not you consider Google to publish information, the challenge is how to decide what is legitimately able to be removed. When is their a demonstrable public interest in the information that outweighs a right to privacy?

I disagree with this interpretation. Google is an unregulated private company. They have neither an obligation to the public, nor any higher binding standards that are imposed by law on them. They are solely responsible to their shareholders, to maximize returns within the ordinary bounds of the law.

The problem of deciding what is legitimate or not isn't a problem for Google to solve, it is a problem for the courts to decide on a case by case basis. But since that is obviously highly impractical, I feel that gving the subjects of the information the right to censor it from Google searches is the next best solution. The same requirement about data should apply to all ordinary private companies without special status.

Alternatively, if Google is to get special privileges to use other people's data in ways that can harm them, then Google should become a public agency, legally regulated, and probably owned and controlled by the state. Think NASA. At least that way there is a real social contract and tradeoff.

Should the press be shutout from Google searches because what they publish could be embarrassing, damaging, and possibly wrong? Get a bad review? Take it down. This path, taken to an extreme, means no negative information would be searchable, no matter if it is true or not.

I would imagine that much of the press would like this, as it means that they regian control over the information they produce. People will have to visit their sites rather than reading the stories for free through Google.

However, consider what your argument really implies. Google would have to merely institute a policy on content to deal with the deep linking problem. You don't get to search web pages deep within a news site, instead you are presented with the front door of the site only. Once you enter, your dealings are directly with the news site. If they slander you, you can complain to the source. If you read their articles, they get feedback and show you ads, etc. It's really much more logical to not have a third party processing the content and offering an alternative presentation of it without assuming the responsibility of the content.

Finally, how do you address cases where a company has no presence in the EU, but is reachable from the EU? Should they comply with removal requests? Should EU based companies with no presence in China remove material the Chinese find offensive, threatening or otherwise want removed?

The defacto accepted approach to this problem is censorship, I believe. The underlying question you should be asking is: does it make more sense for Google to comply with data ownership laws while remaining accessible, or is it better to become completely inaccessible? The fact is that Google doesn't have the power in this relationship. Note that they faced exactly this problem in China a few years ago, and lost the market then. If they refuse to comply with EU laws, they could lose the EU market too.

I am not saying their shouldn't be a mechanism to address a right to privacy but in the absence of clear guidance it can have many unforeseen consequences.

Yes, we both agree on that point. Where we disagree is that I feel the right to censor one's information from private third parties where there is no direct business relationship is already a clear and practical way to address the problem.

Note again that if Google was a highly regulated public agency with a clear mandate to balance and advance the public good, as many people seem to think they are, but they are certainly not, in any way, then the problem would be more complex.

about three weeks ago

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