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Comment Use the tools you have (Score 3, Interesting) 263

The MPAA isn't the judicial branch, they don't get to be a judge and jury in these cases, they are the plaintiff. Nor are they the legislative branch, if they want to write a law, they need to buy off their congressman like they always have before. And the ISP isn't a police force, they are a witness and vendor to the defendant. If the MPAA wants to enforce penalties like this, use the legal system that already exists rather than acting like the mafia and enforcing their own laws with their own judge and their own police force.

Regardless, I don't see what reason the ISPs would have to work with the MPAA, it's against their financial best interest to eliminate consumers. And it's against the better interest of society to have laws that permanently cut off individuals from the internet, this has become a basic necessity in modern life, not unlike electricity made its transition to necessity in the last century. Anyone that cannot legally use the internet would be much more likely to be unemployed, possibly homeless and a burden on the local society.

If an ISP chooses to enforce these policies, they should immediately lose any local monopoly on providing internet service, open up the area to competition, possibly municipal internet. And ISPs should become liable for denial of service for any reason that is not legally recognized and where an individual was never convicted of a crime. It would be nice if the government found a few laws that the MPAA violated just for attempting to get a policy like this through, discrimination against individuals, anti-trust, extortion, etc.

Comment Why are voter records and SSN numbers ever merged? (Score 1) 113

"Cooley said the story began in late summer when the Secretary of State’s Office received a request from the Georgia Department of Revenue. The state agency, he said, wanted regular voter files plus something not given out to the public: voters’ Social Security numbers, birth dates and driver’s license numbers."

I can understand voter records including an address and birth date (verifying someone is old enough to vote and in the right precinct, and easier distinguishing between multiple people in a home with the same or similar name). But why do voter records need to include social security numbers and drivers license numbers? And why does the department of revenue need to see a list of voters? You should be able to vote without driving a car, social security numbers should only be used for social security and taxes, and voting shouldn't come with the threat of a government auditor showing up at your door. If the information isn't tracked and stored, then it can't be leaked or abused.

Comment CIA, is that you? (Score 1) 74

Civilian pilots is what they call the CIA and other members of the intelligence community. Lots of the spy planes of past eras were piloted by "civilians". Sounds to me like an awkward phrasing of "the CIA negotiated some air time in our drones" with the phrasing designed to distract from what's actually happening and instead creating a debate about a completely different topic.

Then again, the intelligence agencies already have plenty of drones and that's no secret, so it's entirely possible I'm wearing too much tin foil.

Comment They are expanding to other markets... (Score 1) 79

... not exploiting existing ones, at least not intentionally. This is a requirement for places like financial firms that have to show there was no insider trading going on, so phone calls and messaging systems have to have full logs. Every other system is simply banned for compliance. So if Slack wants to be used in those companies, they have to have this capability.

Seems like a story of company expansion more than privacy being exploited, but of course, like others say, if it's not on your computer, don't assume that it's private.

Comment Re:Let's call it what it is: SPAM (Score 1) 418

That's a terrible analogy. Email is paid by each end of the connection paying their ISP for the network and possibly mail server access, and the sender being willing to do the work of creating the email for free (or getting paid through an outside mechanism). Contrast that with youtube where the provider of the video needs to make some money to keep their lights on and pay for their end of the network traffic. Either you have ads to pay for the other end of that network connection, hosting fees, and the content creator, or you need to workout a subscription or micropayment system.

Besides, SPAM works completely outside of the email payment system by frequently hijacking a host with malware and use their resources to send the junk. Ads, on the other hand, pay the person that is providing the service or content, and are only pushed to you when you request the content. Don't want to see an ad? Then don't go to an ad supported website. Don't want to see SPAM? Sorry, there's no easy opt out for that.

Comment Re:Nope, still not working for me (Score 1) 644

Same here, still waiting for my identity verification.

Got all the way to the "verifying identity" step a week or two after launch and have been stuck there ever since. Sent in my drivers license and SSN scans and never heard back. All I received (before my ID had a chance to be verified) was a file called "IndentityProfingFailureNotice.pdf" (sic) that cannot be opened. It's been over a month waiting for them to check my credentials. Apparently I have a message according to a banner that I can close, but I don't see anywhere on the site to check messages.

Unfortunately, since I applied during the initial rush, the phone number to the 3rd party credit reporting bureau was not taking any calls, and I'm not longer able to use that method to verify my identity. And I still question why the credit reporting bureau thought I had pets that I'd taken to a vet and a phone number on the other side of the state. Seems like they were mixing up my identity with someone else. (Yes I check my credit reports for identity theft, nothing there. And you can't report a bad security question to the bureaus, at least not that I can see.)

Comment Everyone is a criminal, by design (Score 1) 238

That's the goal of far too much legislation. This way law enforcement always has something they can charge people with that they don't like and lets everyone else go about their business. We no longer have a "rule of law" in this country, we have a "rule of staying on law enforcement's good side." In all likelihood, you committed 3 felonies yesterday and will do so again today:


When I see my local politicians doing this, it just shows how much they like the current setup:


Comment Welcome to our life (Score 1) 99

It must be terrible to have to constantly pay more and feel like your getting less and less in return.

Welcome to the life of every tax payer, cable TV subscriber, health insurance purchaser, etc. I feel both the laugher of irony and the sorrow of more wasted tax payer dollars when private companies turn things around and "tax" the government.

Comment Re:Defeated in one... (Score 2) 467

This isn't designed to stop the determined thief, there will still be plenty of piracy. Instead, it's designed to maximize profits from average users. Friends no longer let other friends borrow a copy of their book like they would have done with a physical book, because they are afraid that it could get shared publicly.

It's not so different from how dvd DRM isn't to stop people from making copies of movies, it's to prevent the manufacturers of players from adding features that customers would like, such as region free playing and the ability to skip ads at the beginning of the disk.

In both cases, criminals can easily do what they've always done, but the law abiding users are less and less able to use the product in ways that used to be legal.

Comment Uber? Stop aiming so low (Score 2) 278

If you really want to "destroy an industry" then allow self driving vehicles to replace cab services. People could subscribe to a car service or pay per use to have a car when they need it. The cars would automatically recharge when not needed, automatically deploy to areas of high demand, be callable with a smart phone app and station themselves at predetermined locations for non-app users. Google can integrate voice commands, local search, maps, and their field trip app so there isn't even a need to talk to a cab driver again.

When cab drivers are finding alternate ways to get customers, you've altered an industry. When cab drivers are looking for a different career, you've destroyed an industry.

Comment Re:Just wait.. (Score 1) 404

I've been with them for 2 years without a contract (they used to hide the option in the past, and they didn't allow you to pay for the phone over time). Not once have they changed my plan, features, or my monthly charges. The only thing that changed was my 3rd party insurance plan reduced their coverage.

The great thing about T-Mobile phones from 2 years ago was that they weren't crippled. They allowed the portable wifi hotspot feature out of the box, without any extra charge. And they included a "call out over wifi" option for people in a bad coverage area (though that didn't fix incoming calls).

Comment In other news... (Score 5, Insightful) 108

Nearly every crime involves transportation and communication. This is less of a story about how cybercrime is a threat and we should all unplug from the dangerous internet and worry about the next attack on a major utility company. Rather it's a realization that technology is an extension of our lives now, everything is impacted by it, and that's no different for criminals.

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