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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Why not push toward collapse? (427 comments)

I'm afraid you can't blame or give credit to Obama for that

BS. Of course, I can blame Obama — he could have and should have gotten Iraqi government to agree for us to stay there longer — based on the new developments.

Then, of course, if you are killing suspected terrorists instead of capturing and interrogating them (so that, heaven forbid, no new prisoners appear in Guantanamo), you might not even be aware of those new developments until you see some decapitations on YouTube. Either way, the affirmative action wonder is as sorry excuse of a president, as Carter was before him...

4 days ago
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Preventing a man-made pandemic

mi Proof? (1 comments)

More than at any time since the Cold War, scientists are tinkering with viruses to make them more deadly and more able to spread

Citation needed.

4 days ago
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Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

mi Sony is run by an Illiberal Moron (575 comments)

That Sony Picture Entertainment — like most of Hollywood — are Illiberal-dominated is well-known.

That their systems were so easily and so thoroughly penetrated hints, that the company is mismanaged.

The revealed conversations confirm it. The particular item — which dwells on NYT's Maureen Down (herself an Illiberal icon) as willing to abolish fundamental journalist principles "for the Greater Good" — cites the following conversation-snippet:

  • Pascal emailed Dowd, saying “I THOUGHT THE STORY WAS GREAT I HOPE YOUR HAPPY"
  • Dowd responded: “I hope you’re happy! Thanks for helping. Let’s do another.”
  • Pascal replied, “Your my favorite person so yes”
  • Dowd finished the conversation with “you’re mine! you’re amazing”

After Obama was elected, when dissent stopped being patriotic, and the only possible reason underlying any sort of disapproval of government was racism, the "haters" were often accused of "hating on Obama". That use of "on" was hardly proper English, and I for one was wondering, if Illiberals are genuinely Illiterate, or are deliberately ruining their speech — perhaps, to better commiserate with the downtrodden. Fortunately, the "on" slowly disappeared and my question went away...

Ms. Pascal's repeated use of "your" instead of "you're" — even after being gently corrected by her wordsmith correspondent — makes me wonder again. Her use of ALL CAPS identifies her as a moron rather firmly in my book — any sort of stupid Sony does, while she remains at the helm, will not surprise me one bit.

4 days ago
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Who's To Blame For Rules That Block Tesla Sales In Most US States?

mi Ah, those pesky RethugliKKKans (141 comments)

wrote that 22 states permit direct sales of automobiles by Tesla to retail buyers, and of those the majority--14 of them-- voted for President Obama

There is a much fresher data-point for the political leanings of those states — we had elections a month ago. That this non-biased and bi-partisan article — the kind we've come to expect from the Newspaper of Record — chose to use the two year old data instead to illustrate its point, means, the point probably is not supported by the more recent poll...

He suggested that Democratic California, Illinois, and New York "have freer markets in auto retailing than Texas," which is presently Republican.

Is it "freer markets" for everyone, or just for the "green" technology — which got a major government loan (on very sweet terms) to survive and ought to be helped to avoid embarrassing the Democratic administration? Would those Democratic bastions of free markets be as supporting of freedom, if it were about sale of, say, high-capacity toilets?

If you really care for free markets, you'll vote Libertarian — with anybody else you still need a bloody permit to do (or sell) almost anything. Splitting hairs about who is more likely to permit this vs. that is stupid — you have your right to pursue happiness. Selling cars the way you want certainly ought to be covered by that.

Is the small bit of evidence enough to make a case?

No, it is not. To show, which party supports freer markets, one would need to study the market-freedom across different goods and services. Cherry-picking one item, that is so dear to one party's heart, in an industry, that is heavily-regulated by all states (as well as Federal government) is meaningless and reveals nothing but bare partisanship.

4 days ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

mi Re:Boycott (581 comments)

Only if some kind of hacker steals it from Sony and makes publicly available. Oh, wait...

Seriously, a free release of the movie is what Mitt Romney just called on Sony to do.

4 days ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

mi OT: Seppuku (581 comments)

But it does irritate me when people say hari-kari. I get that it's used in English a lot, but the original term is Hara-Kiri.

Actually, the proper term is "seppuku". "Harakiri" is a word used by lower classes...

4 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Why not push toward collapse? (427 comments)

Winning, as von Clausowitz said, is accomplishing policy

Well, of course, if von Clausowitz said it, it must be truth and nothing but the truth, sure...

Roosevelt and Truman won World War II in less time.

We remained in Germany for decades after that — had we withdrawn in 1955, Germany too could've become a failed state — or be run over by USSR.

It might take another 10 years, 20 years, 50 years. You can't blame that on Obama.

Yes, I can. And I am far from being the only one. And I'm not just talking about RethugliKKKans: even Leon Panetta was rather critical of the President over this.

4 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Why not push toward collapse? (427 comments)

That article seems to undercut your own argument.

That Illiberals at Slate criticize Bush and free markets is no surprise. That they also criticize the premature withdrawal of American forces — that's noteworthy. It is like having your mama tell you, you have an ugly nose — it must be really ugly...

Bush lost the war.

Bush conquered the entire country, replaced its government, captured its previous leader and handed him over to the new government to be hung by the neck. If that is still "losing", I don't know, what "winning" is...

Did you volunteer? Where did you earn your battle stripes?

Oh, this is so special! So only the military must have a say on matters of foreign policy? Is that your argument — or did you just get carried away with your ad hominem a little?

4 days ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

mi Re:Boycott (581 comments)

Yeah... Although I have not gone to movies in the last 7 years or so (since renovating a house with home theater in it), I was thinking of going to see this one just to stick to those assholes ("Guardians of Peace").

I was just deliberating with myself, whether I am, perhaps, falling for a sneaky marketing ploy, but now Sony officially pulled the movie release making the answer easy and the question moot.

4 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Why not push toward collapse? (427 comments)

What did Bush leave Obama? Anarchy, controlled by armed gangs. Now the strongest force is the Islamic State.

Not true at all. Iraq was moving in the right direction, its various groups learning to talk to rather than fight rivals.

Withdrawal was grossly premature. That it was done not as an honest mistake, but for cynical political considerations ("See? I did not close Guantanamo, but I did get us out of Iraq"), makes it all the more disgusting...

4 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Why not push toward collapse? (427 comments)

The overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the destruction of his entire army apparatus was wat created the power vacuum that ISIS is now stepping into

No. American forces replaced that — there was no vacuum. The vacuum appeared, when we pulled out.

the Iraqi people thought differently, despite the obvious dangers.

Citation needed.

4 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Which Secreatary of State? (427 comments)

historically it was the Secretary of State that benefitted the most

"The nice thing about Secretaries of State is that there are so many of them to choose from"

5 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Why not push toward collapse? (427 comments)

You toppled a government, but you sure as hell didn't "conquer" them.

Of course, we did.

You barely got out of there with your asses intact

There are more people dying from guns in Chicago, than were in Iraq.

and every single justification for going in there in the first place was provably false

Wrong. But off-topic...

And now you've left a giant power vacuum which has destabilized the entire region.

Yes, this — withdrawal of troops for political expedience, rather than because the situation really allowed it — was a mistake, which I consider shameful.

Being in Iraq was such an epic failure

Not at all — we did destroy Saddam Hussein's regime and caused himself to be duly punished. Iraq stopped being a threat to its neighbors and was on its way to becoming a decent country. If only we stuck around for longer...

the world doesn't want any more of your "help"

Your other alternatives are China and Russia. Make your pick...

5 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Joe Biden for President? (427 comments)

Politicians set up the next person from their party for votes.

Vice-President is traditionally nominated for the next Presidency by the same pary — unless (like Cheney) he explicitly rejects such plans from the very beginning.

I doubt, Joe Biden will score even so much as a nomination — despite his desires — which will, of course, be even more embarrassing for the Democrats, than him losing the subsequent election.

No, I don't think, Obama sincerely cares about his nominal "Number 2"... It was a marriage of convenience — the man was supposed to "bring foreign policy heft" to the ticket. Ha-ha-ha...

5 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Why not push toward collapse? (427 comments)

And if it requires 10+ years of US military occupation for a country to recover from "collapse", how is that exactly good for us (or them)?

It is "good" simply because it is better than the alternatives: a) remain under Saddam Hussein; b) be taken over by ISIS (or Iran).

10 years is not that long — had we pulled out from Western Germany in 1955, for example, that country (with plenty of Nazis still inside and USSR's massive armies right across the border) too would've been in deep trouble.

5 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Comparing the incomparable (427 comments)

Cuba's got some oppression sure

"Some" oppression? What a wonderful understatement... You have to register with police — and get their permission — just to travel from one town to another...

but it's not like the US is torture-free either.

Yeah, this was the first thing, that struck me upon moving to America 20 years ago. Your ready willingness to equate the petty misdeeds of your country's government with the gross human rights violations of others. To you and yours, McCarthy — who caused a hundred or so people (most of them actual Communists) to lose their jobs — is equivalent to Beria, who killed millions.

What little torture we did use, was applied to enemies — and most of us are duly ashamed of it anyway. The worst, that political opposition has to fear in the US, is an IRS audit. Do you understand, what's going to happen to a Cuban questioning Fidel's competence?

5 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Why not push toward collapse? (427 comments)

Iraq collapsed. How's that working out for US interests?

Obama pulled us out too soon from the collapsed country. That was a mistake, not the bringing upon the collapse (of Saddam Hussein's regime) itself.

5 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Why not push toward collapse? (427 comments)

Well, Iraq was pushed to collapse. That did not go so well.

What do you mean? The country was then conquered within months by us. Saddam Hussein himself was then captured, tried publicly, and executed deservingly.

Seeing that happen, Muamar Qaddafi relented too — without costing us another dollar or a drop of blood.

That the current Administration managed to destroy those successes by pulling from Iraq too soon and hunting down Qaddafi on made-up pretexts is a shame, but that does not mean, the original plan was flawed.

I am not sure the push-to-collapse strategy has any successes to its name

The only alternatives to such slow suffocation are: a) military intervention; b) pretending, it is Ok. Which do you prefer?

5 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Why not push toward collapse? (427 comments)

Yeah, we have them on the ropes!

Yes, exactly. They are as poor as a Socialist economy can be and, had it not been for Russia's support, would've collapsed long ago.

Another 55 years should do the trick for sure!

May as well, for all we should care. No skin off our back. But Fidel is unlikely to last that much longer, and this sort of regimes tend to change dramatically with each new Dear Leader.

5 days ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

mi Re:Visit to Havana (427 comments)

Yeah, you'll love it. The girls in the worker's paradise are up to just about anything with a foreign tourist, who are all immeasurably wealthy by Cuban standards...

5 days ago

Submissions

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Congress passes 'Unlimited Access to Communications of Every American'

mi mi writes  |  about two weeks ago

mi (197448) writes "A provision of "Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2015" passing through Congress would create an Executive government's right to collect all communications of Americans. The Executive is already doing it claiming "executive authority", but they will no longer need to. In "exchange" the bill mandates deleting all such records within five years, which is the current practice anyway. Congressman Justin Amash (R-Michigan) is raising awareness."
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US Navy authorizes use of laser in combat

mi mi writes  |  about two weeks ago

mi (197448) writes "The U.S. Navy is has declared an experimental laser weapon on its Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) in the Persian Gulf an operational asset and U.S. Central Command has given permission for the commander of the ship to defend itself with the weapon.

The 30 kilowatt Laser Weapon System (LaWS) was installed aboard USS Ponce this summer as part of a $40 million research and development effort from ONR and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to test the viability of directed energy weapons in an operational environment.

No word yet on a smaller, shark-mounted version."

Link to Original Source
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Supersonic passenger jets are coming

mi mi writes  |  about three weeks ago

mi (197448) writes "It's been more than ten years since Concorde made its final transatlantic flight. But there's a new generation of supersonic passenger aircraft beginning to emerge, boasting speeds at least twice as fast as current commercial planes.

Available — like most things — for the rich initially, the plans call for supersonic travel to become available to the poorly washed masses in early 2020-ies."

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Liars, damned liars, and Michael Brown witnesses

mi mi writes  |  about three weeks ago

mi (197448) writes "

Some witnesses said Michael Brown had been shot in the back. Another said he was face-down on the ground when Officer Darren Wilson "finished him off." Still others acknowledged changing their stories to fit published details about the autopsy or admitted that they did not see the shooting at all. An Associated Press review of thousands of pages of grand jury documents reveals numerous examples of statements made during the shooting investigation that were inconsistent, fabricated or provably wrong. For one, the autopsies ultimately showed Brown was not struck by any bullets in his back.

All of these witnesses testified under oath. Will any of them be now prosecuted for perjury?"
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Court allows police to force you to unlock your phone with fingerprint

mi mi writes  |  about 1 month ago

mi (197448) writes "A Circuit Court judge in Virginia has ruled that fingerprints are not protected by the Fifth Amendment. Says the judge: "while a criminal defendant can't be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint."

Don't know about you, but I'll stick to using a code, thank you very much."

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Obama Administration argues for backdoors in personal electronics

mi mi writes  |  about 3 months ago

mi (197448) writes "

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Tuesday that new forms of encryption capable of locking law enforcement officials out of popular electronic devices imperil investigations of kidnappers and sexual predators, putting children at increased risk.

Seriously. Would somebody, please, think of the children?!"
Link to Original Source

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Facebook's Ukrainian office is in Russia. Blocks Ukrainians...

mi mi writes  |  about 4 months ago

mi (197448) writes "Ukrainian media are reporting (link in Ukrainian), that Facebook is getting increasingly heavy-handed blocking Ukrainian bloggers. The likely explanation for the observed phenomenon is that Facebook's Ukrainian office is located in Russia and is headed by a Russian citizen (Catherine Skorobogatov). For example, a post calling on Russian mothers to not let their sons go to war was blocked "Due to multiple complaints". Fed up, Ukrainian users are writing directly to Zukerberg to ask him to replace Catherine with someone, who would not be quite as swayed by the "complaints" generated by Russian bots. The last link (in both Ukrainian and English) is also on Facebook. Will it survive for long?"
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Certified "green" buildings consume more energy than regular structures

mi mi writes  |  about 10 months ago

mi (197448) writes "The "greenness" of a building is measured as EUIs — the higher the number, the more energy the structure is consuming relative to its size. Environmentally-aware construction is supposed to have the LEED-certification by U.S. Green Building Council (a private environment-protection group).

Washington, DC was the first city to mandate LEED-certifications for all new construction in 2010. Today the city-wide average EUI for LEED-certified buildings is 205, whereas the non-certified buildings average 199..."

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Lenders look at social media to check on loan-applicants

mi mi writes  |  about a year ago

mi (197448) writes "We know about Human Resources departments checking job-applicants online. Well, the lenders are catching up too. Writes Wall Street Journal:

Lending companies are looking at potential problems such as whether applicants put the same job information on their loan application as they posted on LinkedIn, or if they shared on Facebook that they had been let go by an employer. A small business that draws negative reviews on eBay also could undermine its chances of getting more credit, lending companies say.

Myself having neither Facebook, nor Twitter, nor LinkedIn accounts, I am wondering, if I am at a disadvantage — these are the people, who already consider imperfect credit history to be better, than no credit history at all..."
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Britney Spears' music used to deter pirates

mi mi writes  |  about a year ago

mi (197448) writes "Blasting Western music seems quite effective against the people, who hate Western culture in general, according to the article in Mirror Online, and Britney Spears' tunes proved to be a great deterrent indeed. Second Officer Rachel from Aberfoyle in Scotland said: “Her songs have been chosen by the security team accompanying our tankers because they thought the pirates would hate them most."

The music is currently used as a second line of defence and is broadcast when initial calls from armed security guards on board fail to deter the pirates. The speakers can be aimed solely at the pirates so as not to disturb the crew. “They’re so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns," — says Rachel.

Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, said the US police and military were the first to use music to quell rioters.

Security industry is well aware of the power of music — and is cautious not to exceed humane limits. Justin Bieber, for example, is not used, because officials are wary of violating Geneva Conventions."

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NASDAQ shut down earlier today and is struggling to get up

mi mi writes  |  about a year ago

mi (197448) writes "The NASDAQ exchange has abruptly halted all trading in early afternoon today, August 22, 2013. At the time of this writing (15:32) they remain down despite the earlier promises to reopen at 14:45, 15:10, 15:25...

The nature of the problem remains a mystery and may turn out to be anything — from a varmint chewing through some critical wire to the decision to switch to Microsoft back in 2005."
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Companies in China learn to bypass government's firewall

mi mi writes  |  about a year ago

mi (197448) writes "According to the article in South China Morning Post, it is common for corporations in the country to reach out to the "real" Internet by using their own lines out to Hong-Kong. Recently, some luxury hotels started offering the access to guests. Of course, some sort of "communications with the local government" have taken place before this apparent violation of the country's federal law was attempted.

I, for one, can't wait for these folks to start getting a bigger say on how the Internet operates."

Link to Original Source
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Computer keeps sending cops to the same house

mi mi writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mi writes "

Embarrassed cops on Thursday cited a "computer glitch" as the reason police targeted the home of an elderly, law-abiding couple more than 50 times in futile hunts for bad guys. Apparently, the address of Walter and Rose Martin's Brooklyn home was used to test a department-wide computer system in 2002

Police have tried to remove the address from their databases for years, but it keeps popping up... This is the scariest part of the government collecting personal data — they can't expunge it, even if they sincerely try to... And if they are even a bit insincere, they can always explain keeping it by a "computer glitch"."
Link to Original Source

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Leak of Congress' ethics-investigators documents

mi mi writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mi writes "A document describing investigations of the House Ethics committee was accidentally leaked through peer-to-peer software running on a PC of a "junior employee" working from home. Although the employee was quickly fired, the embarrassing details are now well known.
At the time of this typing, no mention of the documents on WikiLeaks. Not yet..."

Link to Original Source
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Nigeria shuts down scam websites

mi mi writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mi writes "Nigeria's anti-corruption police said Friday they had shut down some 800 scam websites and busted 18 syndicates of email fraudsters in a drive to curb cyber-crime the country is notorious for. 18 arrests were made. Maybe, the amount of "From the Desk of Dr. Foo Bar" e-mails will drop for a while."
Link to Original Source
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Plagiarism-detection software find Shakespeare

mi mi writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mi writes "Software intended to help essay-graders to detect plagiarism was used to attribute — with high probability — a hitherto unattributed play (The Reign of Edward III) to Shakespeare. It seems, the work was co-authored by Shakespeare and another playwright of the time, Thomas Kyd."
Link to Original Source
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White House admits harvesting e-mail addresses

mi mi writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mi writes "After people appeared on Fox News complaining, White House admitted to not be using the Confirmed Opt-In (a.k.a. Double Opt-In) for adding new addresses to their list of subscribers.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs offered the classic spammer-defenses: "we hope they were not too inconvenienced," — and: "we suggest that they unsubscribe from the list by clicking the link at the bottom of the e-mail."

I still remember — in the 1990ies — spammers covering themselves up with something like: "Under Bill S.1618 Title III passed by the 105th U.S. Congress, this letter can not be considered spam..." Now, the most technologically-advanced Administration is sanctioning the spammer's other excuse: "What's the big deal? Just press 'Delete'!""
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Palin's e-mail account broken into

mi mi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mi writes "A private e-mail account of Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin was broken into and detailed screen-shots published. The publishing site defends the stunningly unethical action with: "It's newsworthy and we will not be taking it down!""
Link to Original Source
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Craigslist forced to reveal a seller's identity

mi mi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mi writes "The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts has won a judgment compelling CraigsList to reveal the identity of "Daniel", who tried to sell two tickets to the Oscar-ceremony recently. The plaintiff's argument against such sales is scary and can be taken very far very quickly: "If you don't know who's inside the theater, it's very difficult to provide security".

The CraigList's handling of the case may be even scarier, however — instead of fighting tooth-and-nail for the user's privacy, as we expect Google, Yahoo, and AOL, and even credit-card issuers to do, CraigsList simply did not show up in court and lost by default."

Link to Original Source
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Fugitive sues C.C.-issuer for aiding his capture

mi mi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mi writes "A short article describes attempts by a disbarred lawyer, who pleaded guilty of statutory rape, to sue American Express for violating its pledge "to withhold customer information from third parties". It seems, the man was captured when police obtained information about where his credit card was used.

His crime is repulsive to most, so there will be little sympathy, but the legal implications are interesting. Was AmEx compelled to disclose the information by the authorities, or did it volunteer the information? In the latter case, what will the company do, if the next suspect-on-the-run is accused of, say, copyright violations, or threats against President, or terrorism — will it consider the magnitude of the accusations and the available evidence, or always cooperate with the police?"

Link to Original Source

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