cover photo

Seth Martin

seth@lastauth.com


Seth Martin
  
Fuse is good
Transformer is good
Capacitor is good
Diode is good
Magnetron is good

I give up.
Seth Martin
  
Oohhh, it's the flux capacitor....
Mike Macgirvin
  
I always get a bit nervous messing with flux caps. I remember one of them I toggled was quantum entangled with dark matter and it kind of went "Phhhht!" and ended up taking out part of the house. Now I usually leave those jobs to the professionals.
Haakon Meland Eriksen (Parlementum)
  
You could try a customized SSP05 that has been jury-rigged Vandangante style to Class 0.5 - it will give you a real boost.

Seth Martin
  
My brother was recently forced to purchase insurance (which at it's cheapest is $300) just to sell his excess veggies in a parking lot. He paid the Farmers Market organization and they paid the government's licensing fees. He must be planning on having a lot of excess this year because it takes a lot of veggies to recoup  that much money.

Zero HedgeZero Hedge wrote the following post Sun, 04 Jun 2017 07:26:24 -0500
http://www.zerohedge.com[/url]']
Brave Police Save Town From Man Selling Veggies

Via The Daily Bell

It is the simplest, most basic aspect of life: you need food, so you grow some vegetables. If you have extra you sell them on a street corner to your neighbors, and if you live in California you get arrested for it.

Licensing is when the government takes a right from you, and sells it back. This California man failed to purchase his rights back from the state.

But the poor police had pictures taken of them while arresting the man, and now they are hearing from the public about their unjust actions.

The Sheriff’s Department of Alameda County Florida responded on Facebook to the public outrage, including thousands of criticisms posted to their Facebook page.
Selling food on street corners violates county ordinances and public health codes. Persistent street vending harms local businesses, especially small, start-up food vendors…

There you have it, from the horse’s mouth in plain black and white: the point of licenses is protection. You pay to play, if you don’t pay off the city and county, they will send their hired thugs to rough you up and demand the protection money.

It harms local businesses: apparently it is the government’s job to make sure there is no competition for certain businesses. God forbid the consumer has a choice.

And why isn’t this guy’s produce selling operation considered a small, start-up street vendor?

Simple because he didn’t pay for his rights.

Yet the Ninth Amendment in the Bill of Rights says, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

And the 24th Amendment outlawed the poll tax, saying the right to vote had been abridged by charging citizens money in order to exercise that right.

Both of these amendments suggest that licensing–charging money for doing a normal activity, having to pay just to live your life–is one method of denying a person’s rights.

And two Supreme Court cases affirm this:
In Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (1943), the Supreme Court stated that a law requiring solicitors to purchase a license was an unconstitutional tax on the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ right to freely exercise their religion. The Court ruled that “The state cannot and does not have the power to license, nor tax, a Right guaranteed to the people,” and “No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.”

In another case, the Court ruled similarly, that “If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262).

Earning money, engaging in basic trade, selling the excess of your labor all falls under the category of natural rights, the pursuit of happiness, liberty or whatever you want to call it. The government has no business arresting someone for selling vegetables.

So the county has their pieces of paper that say he cannot sell without a license, and he has different pieces of paper that say he can. No one bothers to think about what is right, especially the police “just doing their jobs.”

The police don’t make the rules, they just enforce them. So at what point will a law become too unjust to enforce? At what point does a cop quit his job, because he is the agent of injustice? That is such a stupid attempt to absolve oneself of responsibility.

A police officer is an individual who can choose to do evil or not. Doing injustice to fellow human beings for a salary doesn’t make it any better. Following the orders of politicians doesn’t make a cop’s actions peaceful. Throwing people in cages for selling vegetables is a terrible thing to do as one individual to another, and one should not hide behind a badge, uniform, department, or politician while being a bad person.

Let’s look at the rest of the excuse given by the Sheriff’s Department.
Selling food on street corners… poses certain health risks such as E. coli and other food borne illnesses.

Okay, getting a license doesn’t stop E. coli. There have been plenty of outbreaks in licensed food, as well as government-owned water supplies. This is simply a justification given for extortion. The government isn’t testing every veggie, and they aren’t watching every restaurant employee to make sure they wash their hands before returning to work–even if they make the restaurant hang the sign.

The Sheriff’s office continued:
In addition, illegal vending causes traffic safety issues and vendors are sometimes the target of street robberies.

Ah, there you go! The police arrested the man to help him and protect him. They defacto robbed him (the costs of going through the legal system, as well as lost veggies, and lost revenue) in order to protect him from being robbed.

And they will just throw in a “traffic safety issue” for good measure. That farmstand is much more distracting than blinding blue lights flashed all over the city whenever someone is going 5 mph over the speed limit.

(On a side note, have you ever thought about how much more dangerous it is to be parked on the side of a highway after being pulled over, versus going 80 or even 90 miles per hour with the traffic?)

The whole situation is just absurd. We don’t need police running around arresting vegetable vendors–we don’t even need them arresting drug dealers!

If the police would focus on solving the millions of rapes which they never investigate, or perhaps the 39% of murders that never get cleared, maybe their Facebook pages wouldn’t be bombarded by angry citizens as often.

The clear answer is to continue to resist and engage in your highly illegal selling of vegetables, and anything else, regardless of what the law says.Support the illegal farmstand on the roadside, and engage in gray and black markets with your community.

Support the illegal farmstand on the roadside, and engage in gray and black markets with your community.

In fact, a fun activity of resistance is to actively seek out opportunities to engage in unlicensed vending and trade. This strengthens the undocumented market.

The raw milk in my cereal was sold to me illegally, which makes it that much more delicious.
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#Trade #Licensing #Capitalism #Rights #Protection #Bullying #Government Overreach @Anarcho-Vegans+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+ @LibertyPod+
Marshall Sutherland
  
In some cities, it is illegal to give away food to the homeless without a permit.
elmussol
  
Don't tell anyone we sell our #eggs and jam and chutney...
uzver
  
while live in $tate; do
    slave=true
done

Seth Martin
  
I'm about to start migrating LastAuth.com to a temporary server. The website will be unavailable for a while as DNS propagates and DB is locked.
uzver
  
I supose it's was Hubzilla version update? May i ask, what version it was before and what is now?
Seth Martin
  
If you're asking about an update that happened just a moment ago, I executed the util/udall script which does git pull for both Hubzilla and hubzilla-addons, but the only thing that actually updated was the diaspora addon.
$ util/udall
Already up-to-date.
Updating hzaddons
remote: Counting objects: 8, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (3/3), done.
remote: Total 8 (delta 5), reused 8 (delta 5), pack-reused 0
Unpacking objects: 100% (8/8), done.
From https://github.com/redmatrix/hubzilla-addons
   251c426..30f3104  master     -> origin/master
   8649314..68aff6b  dev        -> origin/dev
Updating 251c426..30f3104
Fast-forward
diaspora/inbound.php | 5 ++---
1 file changed, 2 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)
uzver
  
If you're asking about...

Thanks, got it.

Seth Martin
  
Perhaps not the best place for a receptacle...

Seth Martin
  
Perhaps not the best place for a receptacle...
NullSpaceOddity
  
Was it at least a GFCI outlet?
Seth Martin
  
It was supplied by a GFCI but still...
Seth Martin
  last edited: Fri, 21 Apr 2017 18:02:48 -0500  
Once more, with passion: Fingerprints suck as passwords

Biometric data is identity (public), never authentication (secret). You leave a copy of your fingerprints literally on everything you touch.


#Privacy #Security #Passwords #Cybersecurity #Biometrics @Gadget Gurus+ @LibertyPod+
cb7f604332cf39
  
So while it's easy to update your password or get a new credit card number, you can't get a new finger.

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2015/10/stealing_finger.html

and 10 years ago CCC showed how to fake a fingerprint with superglue and wood glue easily:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPtzRQNHzl0 sorry video is in german.
prep
  
But (!) fingerprints work well in allowing security agencies to track you around.

I believe That is the reason for the push for bio-metrics and fingerprint scanners, in particular.

I have doubt in most security things; originating from Facebook, Apple, Google or Microsoft.

Seth Martin
  
There were reports of the certificate for lastauth.com being rejected by Chome/Chromium so I changed to Let's Encrypt yesterday.

I changed the Hubzilla directory server for lastauth.com today as I noticed it wasn't working. It was set to hub.pixelbits.de but that website is down for now, so I changed it to hubzilla.nl. If you wondered why it didn't work, now you do.
James Lamentus
  
we have the @Dog Lovers  forum in hubzilla/redmatrix ;)
Seth Martin
  
She does block the keyboard access a little winking face
Mike Macgirvin
  
This happens to me a lot. "Dad, I need to be played with. Get off that computer and take care of my needs. Maybe if I just stand in front of (or on top of) it...."

Seth Martin
  
Techdirt.Techdirt. wrote the following post Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:23:00 -0500

AT&T, Comcast & Verizon Pretend They Didn't Just Pay Congress To Sell You Out On Privacy

Large ISPs like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast spent a significant part of Friday trying to convince the press and public that they didn't just screw consumers over on privacy (if you've been napping: they did). With the vote on killing FCC broadband privacy protections barely in the books, ISP lobbyists and lawyers penned a number of editorials and blog posts breathlessly professing their tireless dedication to privacy, and insisting that worries about the rules' repeal are little more than "misinformation."

All of these posts, in lock step, tried to effectively make three key arguments: that the FTC will rush in to protect consumers in the wake of the FCC rules being repealed (not happening), ISPs don't really collect much data on you anyway (patently untrue), and that ISPs' lengthy, existing privacy policies and history of consumer respect mean consumers have nothing to worry about (feel free to pause here and laugh).

For more than a decade, large ISPs have used deep-packet inspection, search engine redirection and clickstream data collection to build detailed user profiles, and their longstanding refusal to candidly talk about many of these programs should make their actual dedication to user privacy abundantly clear. Yet over at Comcast, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer Gerard Lewis spent some time complaining that consumer privacy concerns are little more than "misleading talk" and "misinformation and inaccurate statements":

"There has been a lot of misleading talk about how the congressional action this week to overturn the regulatory overreach of the prior FCC will now permit us to sell sensitive customer data without customers’ knowledge or consent. This is just not true. In fact, we have committed not to share our customers’ sensitive information (such as banking, children’s, and health information), unless we first obtain their affirmative, opt-in consent."

So one, the "commitment" Comcast links to in this paragraph is little more than a cross-industry, toothless and voluntary self-regulatory regime that means just a fraction more than nothing at all. And while Comcast insists it doesn't sell its broadband customers' "individual web browsing history" (yet), they do still collect an ocean of other data for use in targeted ads, and there's really little stopping them from using your browsing history in this same way down the road -- it may not be "selling" your data, but it is using it to let advertisers target you. Comcast proceeds to say it's updating its privacy policy in the wake of the changes -- as if such an action (since these policies are drafted entirely to protect the ISP, not the consumer) means anything at all.

Like Comcast, Verizon's blog post on the subject amusingly acts as if the company's privacy policy actually protects you, not Verizon:

"Verizon is fully committed to the privacy of our customers. We value the trust our customers have in us so protecting the privacy of customer information is a core priority for us. Verizon’s privacy policy clearly lays out what we do and don’t do as well as the choices customers can make."

Feel better? That's the same company, we'll note, that was caught covertly modifying user data packets to track users around the internet regardless of any other data collected. That program was in place for two years before security researchers even noticed it existed. It took another six months of public shaming before the company even provided the option for consumers to opt out. Verizon's own recent history makes it clear its respect for consumer privacy is skin deep. And again, there's nothing really stopping Verizon from expanding this data collection and sales down the road, and burying it on page 117 of its privacy policy.

AT&T was a bit more verbose in a post over at the AT&T policy blog, where again it trots out this idea that existing FTC oversight is somehow good enough:

"The reality is that the FCC’s new broadband privacy rules had not yet even taken effect. And no one is saying there shouldn’t be any rules. Supporters of this action all agree that the rescinded FCC rules should be replaced by a return to the long-standing Federal Trade Commission approach. But in today’s overheated political dialogue, it is not surprising that some folks are ignoring the facts."

So again, the FTC doesn't really have much authority over broadband, and AT&T forgets to mention that its lawyers have found ways to wiggle around what little authority the agency does have via common carrier exemptions. And while AT&T insists that "no one is saying there shouldn't be any rules," its lobbyists are working tirelessly to accomplish precisely that by gutting both FTC and FCC oversight of the telecom sector. Not partially. Entirely. Title II, net neutrality, privacy -- AT&T wants it all gone. Its pretense to the contrary is laughable.

Like the other two providers, AT&T trots out this idea that the FCC's rules weren't fair because they didn't also apply to "edge" companies like Facebook or Google (which actually are more fully regulated by the FTC). That's a flimsy point also pushed by an AT&T and US Telecom Op/Ed over at Axios, where the lobbying group's CEO Jonathan Spalter tries to argue that consumers shouldn't worry about ISPs, because their data is also being hoovered up further down the supply chain:

"Your browser history is already being aggregated and sold to advertising networks—by virtually every site you visit on the internet. Consumers' browsing history is bought and sold across massive online advertising networks every day. This is the reason so many popular online destinations and services are "free." And, it's why the ads you see on your favorite sites—large and small—always seem so relevant to what you've recently been shopping for online. Of note, internet service providers are relative bit players in the $83 billion digital ad market, which made singling them out for heavier regulations so suspect."

Again, this quite intentionally ignores the fact that whereas you can choose to not use Facebook or Gmail, a lack of competition means you're stuck with your broadband provider. As such, arguing that "everybody else is busy collecting your data" isn't much of an argument, especially when "everybody else" is having their behaviors checked by competitive pressure to offer a better product. As well-respected security expert Bruce Schneier points out in a blog post, these companies desperately want you to ignore this one, central, undeniable truth:

"When markets work well, different companies compete on price and features, and society collectively rewards better products by purchasing them. This mechanism fails if there is no competition, or if rival companies choose not to compete on a particular feature. It fails when customers are unable to switch to competitors. And it fails when what companies do remains secret.

Unlike service providers like Google and Facebook, telecom companies are infrastructure that requires government involvement and regulation. The practical impossibility of consumers learning the extent of surveillance by their Internet service providers, combined with the difficulty of switching them, means that the decision about whether to be spied on should be with the consumer and not a telecom giant. That this new bill reverses that is both wrong and harmful."

This lack of competition didn't just magically happen. As in other sectors driven by legacy turf protectors, the same ISP lobbyists that just gutted the FCC's privacy rules have a long and proud history of dismantling competitive threats at every conceivable opportunity, then paying legislators to look the other way. That includes pushing for protectionist state laws preventing towns and cities from doing much of anything about it. It's not clear who these ISPs thought they were speaking to in these editorials, but it's certainly not to folks that have actually paid attention to their behavior over the last fifteen years.

The EFF, meanwhile, concisely calls these ISPs' sudden and breathless dedication to privacy nonsense:

"There is a lot to say about the nonsense they've produced here," said Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel at EFF. "There is little reason to believe they will not start using personal data they've been legally barred from using and selling to bidders without our consent now. The law will soon be tilted in their favor to do it."

Gosh, who to believe? Actual experts on subjects like security or privacy, or one of the more dishonest and anti-competitive business sectors in American industry? All told, you can expect these ISPs to remain on their best behavior for a short while for appearances' sake (and because AT&T wants its Time Warner merger approved) -- but it's not going to be long before they rush to abuse the lack of oversight their campaign contributions just successfully created. Anybody believing otherwise simply hasn't been paying attention to the laundry list of idiotic ISP actions that drove the FCC to try and pass the now-dismantled rules in the first place.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

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#Privacy #Net Neutrality #Communications #FCC #FTC #ATT #Comcast #Verizon #Lobbying #Corporatism #Politics @LibertyPod+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+ @Gadget Gurus+

Seth Martin
  
Techdirt.Techdirt. wrote the following post Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:24:00 -0500

Comcast Paid Civil Rights Groups To Support Killing Broadband Privacy Rules

For years, one of the greasier lobbying and PR tactics by the telecom industry has been the use of minority groups to parrot awful policy positions. Historically, such groups are happy to take financing from a company like Comcast, in exchange for repeating whatever talking point memos are thrust in their general direction, even if the policy being supported may dramatically hurt their constituents. This strategy has played a starring role in supporting anti-consumer mega-mergers, killing attempts to make the cable box market more competitive, and efforts to eliminate net neutrality.

The goal is to provide an artificial wave of "support" for bad policies, used to then justify bad policy votes. And despite this being something the press has highlighted for the better part of several decades, the practice continues to work wonders. Hell, pretending to serve minority communities while effectively undermining them with bad internet policy is part of the reason Comcast now calls top lobbyist David Cohen the company's Chief Diversity Officer (something the folks at Comcast hate when I point it out, by the way).

Last week, we noted how Congress voted to kill relatively modest but necessary FCC privacy protections. You'd be hard pressed to find a single, financially-objective group or person that supports such a move. Even Donald Trump's most obnoxious supporters were relatively disgusted by the vote. Yet The Intercept notes that groups like the League of United Latin American Citizens and the OCA (Asian Pacific American Advocates) breathlessly urged the FCC to kill the rules, arguing that snoopvertising and data collection would be a great boon to low income families:

"The League of United Latin American Citizens and OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, two self-described civil rights organizations, told the FCC that “many consumers, especially households with limited incomes, appreciate receiving relevant advertising that is keyed to their interests and provides them with discounts on the products and services they use."

Of course, folks like Senator Ted Cruz then used this entirely-farmed support to insist there were "strenuous objections from throughout the internet community" at the creation of the rules, which simply wasn't true. Most people understood that the rules were a direct response to some reckless and irresponsible privacy practices at major ISPs -- ranging from charging consumers more to keep their data private, or using customer credit data to provide even worse customer support than they usually do. Yes, what consumer (minority or otherwise) doesn't want to pay significantly more money for absolutely no coherent reason?

It took only a little bit of digging for The Intercept to highlight what the real motivation for this support of anti-consumer policies was:

"OCA has long relied on telecom industry cash. Verizon and Comcast are listed as business advisory council members to OCA, and provide funding along with “corporate guidance to the organization.” Last year, both companies sponsored the OCA annual gala.

AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Verizon serve as part of the LULAC “corporate alliance,” providing “advice and assistance” to the group. Comcast gave $240,000 to LULAC between 2004 and 2012.

When a reporter asks these groups why they're supporting internet policies that run in stark contrast to their constituents, you'll usually be met with either breathless indignance at the idea that these groups are being used as marionettes, or no comment whatsoever (which was the case in the Intercept's latest report). This kind of co-opting still somehow doesn't get much attention in the technology press or policy circles, so it continues to work wonders. And it will continue to work wonders as the administration shifts its gaze from gutting privacy protections to killing net neutrality.

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#Privacy #Net Neutrality #Communications #Comcast #FCC #Lobbying #LULAC #Politics @LibertyPod+ @Gadget Gurus+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+
Seth Martin
  
Yet this happens:
US internet providers pledge to not sell customer data after controversial rule change

The three major US Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Comcast Corp, Verizon Communications Inc, and AT&T Inc have pledged to protect the private data of US citizens in solidarity against the latest internet bill passed by Congress.
Seth Martin
  
Since I know where most everyone who cares about Susie likes to waste their precious time, I took to #facebook to announce the tragic turn of events with her health.

Unfortunately, facebook functionality has only gotten worse. Copying text is no longer permitted, notifications come randomly and can take up to a day.
Mulk
 from Diaspora
The Power of the Dog

THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way From men and women to fill our day; And when we are certain of sorrow in store, Why do we always arrange for more? Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware Of giving your heart to a dog to tear. Buy a pup and your money will buy Love unflinching that cannot lie Perfect passion and worship fed By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head. Nevertheless it is hardly fair To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits, And the vet's unspoken prescription runs To lethal chambers or loaded guns, Then you will find - it's your own affair, - But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will, With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!), When the spirit that answered your every mood Is gone - wherever it goes - for good, You will discover how much you care, And will give your heart to a dog to tear!

We've sorrow enough in the natural way, When it comes to burying Christian clay. Our loves are not given, but only lent, At compound interest of cent per cent, Though it is not always the case, I believe, That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve; For, when debts are payable, right or wrong, A short-time loan is as bad as a long - So why in - Heaven (before we are there) Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
Mike Macgirvin
  
Animals outnumber humans in our household by about 10:1 so it's a situation I'm unfortunately quite familiar with.  The time that aware beings share together is always transient. Remember the joy they brought; that's permanent - or at least as permanent as it gets.
elmussol
  
That moment when you realize Noggin the Nog (who we brought from the UK as a young lad) is now twelve. For a lab/springer spaniel cross that's old. Hugs Seth.
Seth Martin
  
Took my two best friends to the emergency room in only two days. It appears that the first won't survive though. Unreal!
Jake Moomaw
  last edited: Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:53:23 -0500  
I'm so sorry to hear that, Seth.  You have my thoughts and condolences.
James Lamentus
  
dogs.. our best friends , I understand you completely .
elmussol
  
Belated condolences.

Seth Martin
  last edited: Sun, 12 Mar 2017 12:14:19 -0500  
Finally, if you could create an alternative open standard system that could do all the things that email can do, it would probably have the same problems. That’s why I don’t think it will happen.

Oh look, Hubzilla is "an alternative open standard system that could do all the things that email can do", and it doesn't have the same problems. Now how can Hubzilla's Zot protocol gain popularity?

Is there a replacement for email?

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David is fed up with spam, phishing and viruses, and thinks email is no longer fit for purpose. What could he use to replace it?


#email #Spam #Malware #Communications #Hubzilla #Zot #Decentralization @Gadget Gurus+ @LibertyPod+
Andrew Manning
  
Not a single mention of XMPP or any other open protocol that has been developed since email was invented 5000 years ago. Just Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger and friends. Sigh.

To their credit, the article did mention that
Email’s second huge advantage is that, unlike Facebook, nobody owns it.

but then they lost credibility by following it with this ignorant statement:
Finally, if you could create an alternative open standard system that could do all the things that email can do, it would probably have the same problems. That’s why I don’t think it will happen.
Letter Bomber
  
@Andrew Manning That's exactly what I was thinking, that the statement was ignorant. It shows that they believe that what Silicon Valley comes out with is all there is in the world, and that shows somebody who's unwilling to look elsewhere, cause there's stuff all over the place. But I don't expect any better from the Guardian, they're just the voice of the mass ignorant middle-class populace.

Seth Martin
  
Techdirt.Techdirt. wrote the following post Thu, 26 Jan 2017 11:34:50 -0600

Legal Threats By Charles Harder & Shiva Ayyadurai Targeting More Speech

Let's say right upfront: if you are unaware, Shiva Ayyadurai is currently suing Techdirt for our posts concerning Ayyaduria's claims to have invented email. Ayyadurai's lawyer in this matter is Charles Harder, the lawyer who filed multiple lawsuits against Gawker, and is credited by many with forcing that company into bankruptcy and fire sale.

Now Harder, on behalf of Ayyadurai, has sent a demand letter to try to have social media comments posted in response to the lawsuit against us taken down. We are writing about this -- despite the lawsuit against us -- because we believe it is important and we do not intend to have our own speech chilled. This is also why we believe it is so important to have a federal anti-SLAPP law in place, because the chance to chill speech with threats or actual litigation is not a hypothetical problem. It is very, very real.

Harder's letter is to Diaspora, and it demands that certain posts by Roy Schestowitz be removed (which appears to have happened). Schestowitz is the guy behind the Techrights blog, which frequently covers issues related to things like free v. proprietary software and software patents. Harder's letter to Diaspora claims that Schestowitz's posts are defamatory, violate Diaspora's terms of service, and "constitute harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress."

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Harder's letter makes the questionable claim that Diaspora itself is liable for Schestowitz's statements. There is tremendous caselaw on Section 230 of the CDA holding that a website cannot be held liable for speech made by users, so it's odd that Harder would argue otherwise, stating that the posts "qualify under the law to establish liability against you."

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One of the key reasons Section 230 of the CDA exists is to protect the freedom of expression of users, so that websites aren't pressured via legal threats to take down speech over fear of liability. That's why it grants full immunity. It is strange for an attorney as established as Harder to either not know this, or to misrepresent this. Elsewhere in the letter, he references Massachusetts law as applying, so it's not as though he's suggesting that some other jurisdiction outside the US applies. So, since Section 230 clearly applies, why would Charles Harder tell Diaspora that it is liable for these statements?

Separately, Harder's letter concludes with the following statement:

This letter and its contents are confidential, protected by copyright law, and not authorized for publication or dissemination.

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We have seen similar statements on legal letters in the past and they have generally been considered meaningless, at best. On the question of confidentiality/authorization for publication, that's not how it works. The recipient of such a letter has no obligation to not disseminate it or to ask for authorization without any prior agreement along those lines. You can't magically declare something confidential and ban anyone from sharing it. Furthermore, this is especially true when dealing with legal threat letters. While many lawyers put such language into these letters to try to scare recipients (and avoid a Streisand Effect over the attempt to silence speech), they serve no purpose other than intimidation.

Separately, claims of copyright in takedown or cease & desist letters, while they do show up occasionally, are also generally considered to be overstatements of the law. First off, there are questions raised about whether or not general cease & desist threat letters have enough creativity to get any kind of copyright, but, more importantly, even if there were copyright on such a letter it would be a clear and obvious fair use case to be able to share them and distribute them publicly, as part of an effort to discuss how one has been threatened with questionable legal arguments.

Either way, we believe that this fits a pattern of using legal threats and litigation to silence criticism of public figures. In an era when speaking truth to power is so important, we believe such actions need to be given attention, and need to be called out. We also think they demonstrate why we need much stronger anti-SLAPP laws, at both the state and federal level to protect people's right to speak out about public issues. If you agree, please call your elected representatives and ask them to support strong anti-SLAPP protections, like those found in the SPEAK FREE Act of 2015.

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#Free Speech #Diaspora #Social Networking #Copyright #Defamation #Anti-SLAPP #Shiva Ayyadurai #Charles Harder #E-Mail @Gadget Guru+ @LibertyPod+

Seth Martin
  
DeeplinksDeeplinks wrote the following post Tue, 24 Jan 2017 17:02:10 -0600

EFF To Patent Office: Supreme Court Limits On Abstract Patents Are a Good Thing

EFF has submitted comments to the Patent Office urging it not to support efforts to undermine the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alice v. CLS Bank. The Patent Office had called for public submissions regarding whether “legislative changes are desirable” in response to recent court decisions, including Alice. We explain that, far from harming the software industry, Alice has helped it thrive.

When the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Alice, it was a shock to a patent system that had been churning out software patents by the tens of thousands every year. Back in the 1990s, the Federal Circuit had opened the software patent floodgate with its ruling in State Street and In re Alappat. That decision held that any general purpose computer could be eligible for a patent so long as it is programmed to perform a particular function. In Alice, the Supreme Court substantially moderated that holding by ruling that a generic computer is not eligible for a patent simply because it is programed to implement an abstract idea.

Courts have applied Alice to throw out many of the worst software patents. Alice is particularly valuable because, in some cases, courts have applied it early in litigation thereby preventing patent trolls from using the high expense of litigation to pressure defendants into settlements. While we think that the Federal Circuit could do more to diligently apply Alice, it has at least been a step forward.

As the Alice case made its way to the Supreme Court, defenders of software patents predicted disaster would befall the software industry if the courts invalidated the patent. For example, Judge Moore of the Federal Circuit suggested that a ruling for the defendant “would decimate the electronics and software industries.” This prediction turned out be entirely inaccurate.

In our comments, we explain that the software industry has thrived in the wake of Alice. For example, while R&D spending on software and Internet development went up an impressive 16.5% in the 12 months prior to the Alice decision, it increased by an even more dramatic 27% in the year following Alice. Similarly, employment growth for software developers remains very strong, as anyone who has tried to rent an apartment in the Bay Area can attest.

We also express concern that the Patent Office’s guidance puts the thumb on the scale in favor of patent eligibility. For example, the Patent Office’s call for comments asked how it can make certain decisions better known to examiners. But it focused only on decisions finding patent claims eligible. During the same period, even more decisions were issued by the Federal Circuit finding software-related claims ineligible, but those decisions were left off the list.

Some commentators have suggested that the Patent Office takes an “intentionally narrow” view of Alice. But it is not the Patent Office’s job to narrow Supreme Court holdings, its job is to apply them. Ultimately, the patent system does not exist to create jobs for patent prosecutors, examiners, or litigators. It exists for the constitutional purpose of “promot[ing] the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” With no evidence that Alice is harming software development, the Patent Office should not focus on pushing more patenting on the industry.

Many other non-profits and companies submitted comments in favor of the changes brought by the Alice decision. These include comments from Public Knowledge, Engine, and Mozilla. We hope the Patent Office listens to this feedback from outside the patent world before making any legislative recommendations.

Public comment periods are an important check on concentrated interests pushing regulations that hurt the public interest. EFF regularly submits comments to the Patent Office where rules are proposed that would harm the public. For example, EFF and Public Knowledge recently submitted comments to the Patent Office regarding applicants' duties of disclosure. This is the duty to tell the Patent Office about material (such as existing inventions) relevant to whether the application is patentable. The Patent Office has proposed a new rule that would require patent applicants to submit material only if it the material would actually lead to a rejection of a pending claim. That is, the Patent Office proposed adopting the standard set out in a case called Therasense, which was a decision from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit regarding the standards for finding a patent invalid for inequitable conduct. The Patent Office justified its proposed change as being simpler for applicants and would lessen the incentives to submit only marginally relevant material.

In our comments, we urged the Patent Office to maintain its current standards. We explain that the change would lead to no reduction in a charge of inequitable conduct. In addition, we suggested that a better incentive to reducing the amount of marginally relevant material would be if the Patent Office more frequently enforce procedures requiring patent applicants to explain the relevance of materials submitted to the office.

Related Cases:

Abstract Patent Litigation

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#EFF #Patents #Patent Trolls #Innovation @Gadget Guru+ @LibertyPod+

Seth Martin
  
It's probably not a good idea to store anything sensitive, private or potentially revealing at locations you don't own. Big data companies like this, keep your data forever! Choice is only an illusion.

Dropbox: Oops, yeah, we didn't actually delete all your files – this bug kept them in the cloud

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Biz apologizes after years-old data mysteriously reappears
Dropbox says it was responsible for an attempted bug fix that instead caused old, deleted data to reappear on the site.…


#Dropbox #Cloud #Storage #Big Data @Gadget Guru+

Seth Martin
  
The Internet Health Report

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Welcome to Mozilla’s new open source initiative to document and explain what’s happening to the health of the Internet. Combining research from multiple sources, we collect data on five key topics and offer a brief overview of each.


#Decentralization #Privacy #Internet #Security #Cybersecurity #Mozilla @LibertyPod+ @Gadget Guru+
Seth Martin
  last edited: Sat, 21 Jan 2017 16:37:30 -0600  
Marshall Sutherland
  
My wife just showed me a video of some guy in Miami going on rant because it was 46F and he had to put on a jacket.

Seth Martin
  last edited: Sat, 14 Jan 2017 09:55:00 -0600  
Since government is creating an environment where only some entities can afford to play, government must also protect the market from their abuse of power.

MotherboardMotherboard wrote the following post Sat, 14 Jan 2017 08:00:00 -0600

In Final Speech, FCC Chief Tom Wheeler Warns GOP Not to Kill Net Neutrality

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler delivered an impassioned defense of US net neutrality protections on Friday, one week before Republicans who have vowed to roll back the policy are set to take control of the agency.

In his final public speech as the nation’s top telecom regulator, Wheeler warned that Republican efforts to weaken FCC rules ensuring that all internet content is treated equally will harm consumers, stifle online innovation, and threaten broadband industry competition.

“The open internet is the law of the land,” Wheeler declared during a speech at the DC offices of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. “Tampering with the rules means taking away protections consumers and the online world enjoy today.”

Open internet advocates say strong net neutrality safeguards are needed to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon from creating online fast lanes for their own content or discriminating against rival services. The telecom giants, and their Republican allies in Congress, accuse the FCC of overstepping its authority and shackling their business models.

Wheeler’s departure from the FCC on January 20, President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration day, will leave the agency in the hands of Republican officials who have made no secret of their intention to dismantle the FCC’s policy. That would be a grave mistake, Wheeler said.

“To take those protections away at the request of a handful of ISPs threatens any innovation that requires connectedness and with it the productivity gains, job creation, and international competitiveness required for America’s economic growth,” Wheeler said. "It is time to keep moving forward. This is not the time to retreat and take things away.”
“Vigilance to protect that which Americans now enjoy must be our watchword.”

The FCC’s policy safeguarding net neutrality is the centerpiece of an ambitious pro-consumer agenda advanced by Wheeler over the last three years. Open internet advocates say that without net neutrality, hugely popular online video and communications services like Netflix and Skype could have been snuffed out by ISPs in favor of their own rival offerings.

“Those who build and operate networks have both the incentive and the ability to use the power of the network to benefit themselves even if doing so harms their own customers and the greater public interest,” Wheeler said. “Access to the network is what the new economy is built on, and it must not be taken away.”



FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's Final Public Address
by The Aspen Institute on YouTube

Unfortunately for open internet advocates, the prospects for the FCC’s net neutrality policy are bleak under Trump’s administration. The president-elect’s FCC transition team is led by right-wing ideologues who are expected to recommend a new anti-net neutrality chairman to replace Wheeler. And Trump himself has taken to Twitter to disparage the FCC’s policy.

In his speech, Wheeler warned Republicans soon to be in control of the FCC that reversing the agency's net neutrality policy is “not a slam dunk” because of the “high hurdle, imposed by the Administrative Procedure Act, of a fact-based showing that so much has changed in just two short years that a reversal is justified.”

Meanwhile, in Congress, Republicans are already scheming to kneecap the FCC’s policy. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the Tennessee Republican who was recently tapped by the GOP to be the new chairman of the House telecom subcommittee, has described net neutrality as a “socialistic” Obama plot to take over the internet.

Blackburn, who has received mountains of campaign cash from the telecom industry since first being elected in 2002, has been trying to kill net neutrality for years. In the coming months, she will finally get her chance, possibly by working with other lawmakers to pass new legislation that claims to protect net neutrality, while actually gutting the FCC’s policy.

Outgoing FCC Chairman Wheeler, who has written books about the Civil War, concluded his remarks by quoting from Abraham Lincoln’s famous first inaugural address: “While the people retain their virtue, and vigilance, no administration … can very seriously injure the government, in the short space of four years.”

“The vigilance Lincoln spoke of means we must be alert to name-only, so-called net neutrality policies that actually retreat from the protections that exist today,” Wheeler said. “Vigilance to protect that which Americans now enjoy must be our watchword.”


#Net Neutrality #Internet #FCC #Communications #Politics @Gadget Guru+ @LibertyPod+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+
Seth Martin
  last edited: Sat, 21 Jan 2017 11:46:29 -0600  
Khalil Sehnaoui on Twitter

“If the media stopped saying 'hacking' and instead said 'figured out their password', people would take password security more seriously.”
prep
 from Diaspora
So @seth

Is this automatic or did you physically post this?
Seth Martin

Image/photo Maria Karlsen

Maria Karlsen likes prep’s comment
Seth Martin
  
That's automatic since the two of you are using incompatible networks. Hubzilla's diaspora plugin added the text since you would have never known about Maria's pressing of the Like button on your comment due to diaspora missing this feature. Unfortunately, it doesn't say which comment was liked but I can tell you that it was the very first one in this thread.

If someone from gnusocial were to comment in this thread, you would see it relayed through me in a similar manner due to incompatibility between diaspora and gnusocial.
prep
 from Diaspora
Very nice @seth.

You are the network! :-)