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    Something tells me if it didn’t do anything they wouldn’t have made an entire law about it. Just like thinking out loud here.

    1. 1

      Right.

      In fact, the revised version of Article 13 also puts some abuse protections in place.

      Why are the masses of peons so infatuated with “protections”? Abuse protections? Like, some text snippet somewhere that’s supposed to protect you from being abused by the government - the same organization that wrote the snippet?

      It’s all magic text, just like the Constitution, which has magically limited the size of the US government for quite a while now, and granted them rights that we don’t have.

      1. 2

        Legal systems are really weird when you start to think about them. China technically has freedom of speech in their constitution. Australia (which the exception of VIC) does not have a bill of rights.

        A lot of laws come down to enforcement, and collective belief in the system itself. I wrote about this a while back:

        https://khanism.org/security/legality/

        ..and I feel I need to write an updated version that also incorporates a lot of Graber’s views on debt an legal systems; basically that the state can only enforce laws because it has a monopoly on violence (police and military).

        It’s interesting that for centuries, armies around the world were entirely funded by debt. Conquerors like Alexander the Great or Napoleon would take an area, leave a garrison and charge people taxes. In some cases these villagers had never used coins before, and now they had to pay taxes, which they got from the soldiers.

        It’s a bit tangential, but it relates to laws like these, probably more in the US than the EU, because they’re often crafted by large industry to leverage that violence held by the state, to create conditions favorable to them.

        1. 2

          Legal systems are really weird when you start to think about them. China technically has freedom of speech in their constitution

          So did the Soviet Union, right?

          basically that the state can only enforce laws because it has a monopoly on violence

          Of course. Laws are essentially just commands issued by rulers. To rule over people, you need to be in a position to force them to obey your commands.

          You sound like you’d agree that governments shouldn’t exist, but somehow I suspect you wouldn’t.

      2. 1

        That’s a heuristic to always remember. :) The last use of it popping into mind was metadata. There was tons of debate in the media about it. The administration that wanted it so much kept telling us there was no harm that could come to us. Although some security folks did, I didn’t see a single, media outlet ask the obvious question: why do you want it so much for a military-intelligence organization if it’s a harmless thing not worth thinking about?

      1. 3

        We’re a small shop (~15 folks, ~10 eng), but old (think early 2000s, using mod_perl at the time). Not really a startup but we match the description otherwise so:

        It’s a Python/Django app, https://actionk.it, which some lefty groups online use to collect donations, run their in-person event campaigns and mailing lists and petition sites, etc. We build AMIs using Ansible/Packer; they pull our latest code from git on startup and pip install deps from an internal pip repo. We have internal servers for tests, collecting errors, monitoring, etc.

        We have no staff focused on ops/tools. Many folks pitch in some, but we’d like to have a bit more capacity for that kind of internal-facing work. (Related: hiring! Jobs at wawd dot com. We work for neat organizations and we’re all remote!)

        We’ve got home-rolled scripts to manage restarting our frontend cluster by having the ASG start new webs and tear the old down. We’ve scripted hotfixes and semi-automated releases–semi-automated meaning someone like me still starts each major step of the release and watches that nothing fishy seems to be happening. We do still touch the AWS console sometimes.

        Curious what prompts the question; sounds like market research for potential product or something. FWIW, many of the things that would change our day-to-day with AWS don’t necessarily qualify as Solving Hard Problems at our scale (or 5x our scale); a lot of it is just little pain points and time-sucks it would be great to smooth out.

        1. 6

          FYI, I get a “Your connection is not private” when going to https://actionk.it. Error is NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID, I got this on Chrome 66 and 65.

          1. 2

            Same here on Safari.

            1. 1

              Sorry, https://actionkit.com has a more boring domain but works :) . Should have checked before I posted, and we should get the marketing site a cert covering both domains.

            2. 1

              Firefox here as well.

              1. 1

                Sorry, I should have posted https://actionkit.com, reason noted by the other comments here.

              2. 1

                https://actionk.it

                This happens because the served certificate it for https://actionkit.com/

                1. 1

                  D’oh, thanks. Go to https://actionkit.com instead – I just blindly changed the http://actionk.it URL to https://, but our cert only covers the boring .com domain not the vanity .it. We ought to get a cert that covers both. (Our production sites for clients have an automated Let’s Encrypt setup without this problem, for the record :) )

              1. 14

                Even this article is enough to conclude that Go is not “Amazing”.

                “Please Don’t Attack Me For Listing Some Things About Go That Really Suck”

                1. 4

                  It is very likely that AWS, or Linux, or many other services/projects are used by governments for doing bad stuff. I don’t understand what is so different in this case.

                  1. 7

                    In this case, you are being personally enlisted to aid directly in the immoral activities, not just using a service that other people also use.

                    1. 2

                      In this case, you are being personally enlisted to aid directly in the immoral activities

                      In the same vein, you’re personally enlisted to aid in killing innocent Afghanis through paying taxes. Oh, and ruining people’s lives for possessing a certain plant, etc.

                      1. 5

                        These are obligations imposed on you by the state, which cannot be opted out of, and are quite indirect compared to contributing to a database of pattern recognition whose only purpose is targeted murder.

                        1. 1

                          Not sure what you mean, but the fact remains: through taxation, we’re all enlisted to aid in doing all kinds of nasty/crazy/immoral shit that we wouldn’t voluntarily aid in doing. That’s why they need to take our money by force.

                          1. 2

                            Yes, that fact remains. This article is talking about opting out of something voluntary. I’m not seeing the point of confusion.

                      2. 1

                        Thanks for the reply. I read the article couple more times but still don’t see the connection.

                        As far as I understand, if you use AGPL there are thousands of companies who won’t use your library either.

                        The author’s open source projects don’t seem to be directly used for drone technology, either. Even then their argument looks weak to me.

                        I support protesting Google for their actions in involving in immoral projects. And I appreciate the author of this article for suggesting one another way to do that but it looks a very weak one to me.

                        1. 1

                          I support protesting Google for their actions in involving in immoral projects. And I appreciate the author of this article for suggesting one another way to do that but it looks a very weak one to me.

                          I certainly don’t disagree that its persuasive power is low; I only argue there’s a big difference in “participating in directly aiding an morally defective project (like reCaptcha hypothetically asking you to select drone targets) with ones own abilities (human image recognition)” and “using a service or project (like AWS) that is also used by morally defective actors (like governments)”. The latter is impossible to avoid (like taxation, as @rama_dan points out), the former possible.

                    1. [Comment removed by author]

                      1. 24

                        Using the AGPL accomplishes their goal while keeping the software free (by the FSF’s definition) and open source (by OSI’s definition). If they used a “don’t be evil license” their software wouldn’t be included in various package repos, and couldn’t be linked with GPL-licensed code.

                        1. 1

                          Hm, maybe a “you can’t use this software to deprive others of their basic human rights” sort of clause in the (A)GPL could be good. I’m sure there would be some drawbacks (especially enforceability WRT government agencies), but it might help.

                          1. 9

                            i doubt it would. entities who consciously violate basic human rights don’t care about following licenses. if they could be prosecuted for a license violation, they could be prosecuted for their human rights violations regardless of license.

                            1. 4
                              1. 2

                                Ah, this was the article I was trying to remember. Probably too late to be noticed now.

                                https://www.gnu.org/licenses/hessla.html

                                1. 1

                                  Hm, I found the first essay you posted to be more convincing. I think Stallman brings up a good point that these are licenses based on copyright law - not human rights laws. Either way, I’m convinced now that it would probably be a net loss.

                            2. 3

                              Except licenses that try to not to approve of “evil” end up badly.

                              1. 3

                                If you’re prepared to admit that corporations naturally trend toward violence

                                What’s that supposed to mean?

                              1. 1

                                You don’t need to use a separate JS file. You could use some kind of server template library to output your “JSON” data into a script tag.

                                <script type="text/javascript">

                                var dataFromServer = $dataFromServer;

                                </script>

                                So for example, $dataFromServer might be a variable in your templating language that would contain your data as a JSON-formatted string.

                                Or you could use the templating language to loop through your data and write out rows one by one, or whatever.

                                1. 1

                                  This is exactly what I’m doing. I’m just wondering why most widgets I’ve seen in the wild don’t do this. The only one I could find that doesn’t return a purely static JS script, and where the server injects some dynamic data in the script before sending it to the browser is the Disqus comments widget.

                                1. 4

                                  Great writeup as always @aphyr!

                                  Out of curiosity, what sort of pricing do you give for this sort of work, and is it per-time-period or per-product or per-defect found or what?

                                  1. 9

                                    Thank you.

                                    I usually charge for dedicated weeks of time, and we keep going as long as the client feels the work is fruitful, but it varies. Some work I try to do for free, or with a pre-arranged rate in installments.

                                    1. 1

                                      Have you done CockroachDB yet?

                                      1. 1

                                        Yep! Review is here: https://jepsen.io/analyses/cockroachdb-beta-20160829 (full disclosure: I work at cockroach)

                                  1. 12

                                    Not discussed here, but the next time Apple ends up in court (or the court of public opinion) needing to defend their insistence on provider-independent-security with keys for iPhones being purely in the users’ control, this will massively undermine their case.

                                    This has all the appearances of being a straightforward “profit over any sort of principle” decision. Lest anyone forget, Google exited the Chinese market following Operation Aurora, refusing to censor search results.

                                    1. 5

                                      That’s a great point. The U.S. LEO’s would definitely make an argument that they should get access if China is.

                                      1. 3

                                        Isn’t this about icloud data though, and not physical “on-device” data? Apparently the U.S. government/LEO’s already have warrant based access to this data.

                                        1. 0

                                          The U.S. LEO’s would definitely make an argument that they should get access if China is.

                                          Gee, I wonder what “argument” they “made” to start the Five Eyes program, or to whisk Bradley Manning to torture prison without due process.

                                          It must have been extremely convincing. Perhaps something like: “If other countries have authoritarian regimes, why can’t we?”

                                      1. 15

                                        I can work around this issue, but I find it much more worrisome that their gateways are discontinued entirely. I use Slack through the IRC gateway, because I don’t want to have a CPU & memory gobbling browser tab for every organization I join.

                                        This means that sometime in the not-to-distant future, using the gateways at all won’t be possible.

                                        1. 19

                                          Yes. It leaves me with the impression that gateways might exist primarily to ease the on-boarding process of new customers by being able to tell them, that they can continue using their IRC or XMPP clients. Once a company becomes a customer, the discussion is effectively finished and individual users will be pressured to use the electron or browser client anyways because Slack is what the company uses now.

                                          So, sadly, there’s little incentive for Slack to support those bridges as long they are good enough to say “yes, we’ve got them” in the beginning.

                                          1. 1

                                            What if the gateways are still running by chance, and no one dares to touch them because the dev(s) that built it left the company.

                                            Anyway, as you wrote, it doesn’t make sense to spend money enhancing something that most users don’t care about.

                                            1. 1

                                              What if the gateways are still running by chance, and no one dares to touch them because the dev(s) that built it left the company.

                                              That would imply that a not too small company with lots of resources would run totally unmaintained software in production, right? I hope they don’t, and if they do, they could least say so in their documentation and advertisements.

                                              Anyway, as you wrote, it doesn’t make sense to spend money enhancing something that most users don’t care about.

                                              That’s not what I wrote! I meant that there are little incentives for companies who care a lot about profit maximization and less about supporting users with more uncommon needs. But it would of course ‘make sense’ to spend money on such features if one would like to create a good communication platform for a more diverse set of users!

                                              1. 2

                                                Yes, I’ve seen them mention their XMPP gateway support in advertising material. They certainly don’t mention that it’s broken and entirely unsupported.

                                                1. 2

                                                  That’s not what I wrote!

                                                  Sorry, I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. Thanks for clarifying. :)

                                            2. 7

                                              If you’re using Weechat then give wee-slack a go - I believe its lead developer works at Slack. I switched from IRC gateway some months ago because my team insists on using threads and emoji reactions, and I insist on using tools which don’t consume tons of resources. So far it’s been great, it supports most of the features I need (threads, emoji reactions, some slash commands) and I don’t care about others (search, file uploads)

                                              1. 4

                                                Seconded; wee-slack is a lifesaver.

                                                Where I work they won’t even turn the gateway on, but wee-slack talks directly over the same websocket API that the official client uses. It also lets me SSH into my work computer from my personal machine and keep my login credentials only on my work machine.

                                              2. 1

                                                This means that sometime in the not-to-distant future, using the gateways at all won’t be possible.

                                                A bit like some time in the not-too-distant future, you won’t be able to unlock a new Android/iOS cellphone without something like “Face ID”.

                                                For your convenience and security, of course. Only a terrorist would want a phone without Face ID!

                                                The commonality here is that the masses don’t care about the alternatives, and so, the alternatives end up becoming impractical.

                                              1. 1

                                                So what does Nuster do that HAProxy doesn’t?

                                                1. 2

                                                  nuster added cache ability to HAProxy, nuster = haproxy + cache. Also it is different from the cache feature introduced in haproxy v1.8 which has many limitations.

                                                1. 5

                                                  What else would you expect from a VPN run by Facebook?

                                                  .. And what else would you expect from a fiber connection provided by Google? People have been happily using Google’s connections for a long time now, seemingly completely oblivious to what Google does. It’s baffling.

                                                  1. 11

                                                    Oh god, no. My work is 99% dealing with complete nonsense, 1% doing something mildly interesting. They have this catch phrase here: “change banking for good,” but I’ve never seen anyone do anything to that end or even mention it beyond the ra-ra corporate meetings.

                                                    I actually am in the middle of getting a new manager right now. I love my old manager and am really unimpressed with the new guy. Realistically, I’m looking at finishing my year out here and moving on.

                                                    1. 5

                                                      “change banking for good,” but I’ve never seen anyone do anything to that end or even mention it beyond the ra-ra corporate meetings

                                                      If you’re working for a run of the mill, state-enforced cartel member bank, then yeah, they’re not interested in changing anything.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        Hmm, I’m not sure which banks you’re referring to. I work at Capital One for what it’s worth.

                                                      2. 1

                                                        Oh god, no.

                                                        🤣

                                                      1. 1

                                                        Hugo, Jekyll, Ivy. I’d like to give it a try as I find Hugo a bit of a pain moving from Jekyll. Honestly, the whole minimalist shtick is appealing regardless of how haphazardly the word is thrown about.

                                                        1. 1

                                                          What problems did you see with Jekyll and Hugo?

                                                          1. 1

                                                            I think, after further reading on Ivy (it’s not meant all that much for blogs), that Hugo and Jekyll are a hodgepodge of assorted features that can lead to bloat. Granted, baseline both are easy enough to get started with. I use both right now for hosted sites. I just really agree – after playing around with Ivy – that Hugo and Jekyll really aren’t meant just for plain static sites. They’re meant for more complex sites (e.g., blogs mostly). That’s fine. Ivy does a great job of doing what it says it wants to do.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          It’s obvious to anyone running a business that GDPR is a massive pain in the ass, and a huge threat. 20M euros in fines will destroy any medium-sized company too.

                                                          Oh but if a company is fined under GDPR, surely that means it deserved to die, right? Good riddance! .. To any valuable products or services it provided, and good riddance to all the jobs it had created too!

                                                          The GDPR has been successfully sold to the masses, as something that will supposedly prevent sleazy ad companies from invading your privacy. But do you really think Google will be invading it any less than before?

                                                          What about governments then? Do you think intelligence agencies will spy on you less?

                                                          This is the main reason why GDPR is such a fucking farce. They tell you they’re protecting your privacy, while invading it as much as they possibly can.

                                                          1. 4

                                                            Agree it’s a huge hassle.

                                                            On the other hand people really suffered from not being able to get new bridges when engineering requirements were brought in, but 50 years later we no longer had lethal collapses on a regular basis.

                                                            Being able to make google wipe out everything they know about me is pretty cool. I’ve nearly finished getting their hooks out of my stuff.

                                                            1. [Comment from banned user removed]

                                                              1. 3

                                                                If I could get a friend to blow the whistle on anything they’re still holding, I’d be happy to split the 4%.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  Count me in ;)

                                                            2. 2

                                                              What about governments then? Do you think intelligence agencies will spy on you less?

                                                              Nope, since GDPR is primarily about working with commercial entities rather than clandestine government agencies.

                                                              But do you really think Google will be invading it any less than before?

                                                              I expect them to comply with the law.

                                                              I also expect companies will pop up with low-cost solutions to deal with user data, similarly to how PCI regulation created an industry for payment providers to come up and handle that aspect of the transaction. Cloud providers can offer userdata bases that are encrypted and architecture for it. And designing a new system for GDPR is not super challenging, the important parts of the law tend to be pretty straight forward.

                                                              As someone who was involved in implementing GDPR at a company, I believe the law is a good first iteration. I’m sure we’ll find that some things in it are irrelevant and some things in it are harmful, but I believe in pushing for privacy.

                                                              Do you have an alternative? You’ve consistently commented on GDPR being a bad idea and implied, but not out right said, that it will have no effect. Is your suggestion that we should just drop the idea and let companies do what they want? Do you have a suggestion for alternative legislation?

                                                              1. 0

                                                                I also expect companies will pop up with low-cost solutions to deal with user data

                                                                Don’t want to deal with the VAT-MESS? -Oh no problem! You just pay someone else to take care of that bullshit.

                                                                Don’t want to deal with the GDPR? -Oh no biggie. There’s a service to deal with that bullshit.

                                                                But a burden is still a burden, even if you pay someone else to deal with it, and there’s a limit to the burdens a business can bear.

                                                                I suspect the real goal of all these new burdensome regulations is to gradually cull small (and even medium) sized businesses, as part of a drive to centralize our societies ever further, so that we’re all easier to rule over.

                                                                I believe the law is a good first iteration. I’m sure we’ll find that some things in it are irrelevant and some things in it are harmful, but I believe in pushing for privacy.

                                                                It’s far from a good first iteration. They’re threatening one-man companies with 20M EUR fines for not complying with rules that are basically impossible to fully comply with. That’s not something to cheer for, and that doesn’t happen by accident - genuinely retarded people don’t get to a position where they’re writing EU-wide laws.

                                                                People keep telling us we’ll just have to wait and see how the law will be interpreted. That sounds vaguely benign, but what that means in the real world is observing which companies get destroyed for which arbitrary/political reasons.

                                                                It’s a bit like waiting to see who gets executed for wearing the kind of clothes the Emperor doesn’t happen to like. Is there no problem once everyone knows what kind of clothes he’s unhappy with?

                                                                Do you have an alternative? You’ve consistently commented on GDPR being a bad idea and implied, but not out right said, that it will have no effect.

                                                                How about “no onerous bullshit legislation”? Of course it will have effects, and they’ll be a massive net negative. How about tens of thousands of companies not wasting time researching and complying with onerous bullshit legislation, and concentrating on providing valuable goods and services instead?

                                                                Even if GDPR actually makes some privacy-invading scumbags call it a day, it’s not even meant to do anything about the police states budding everywhere.

                                                                Pretty much everyone on this forum is intimately familiar how the people running governments operate.. so why are you seemingly fine with.. well, anything governments do?

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  Even if GDPR actually makes some privacy-invading scumbags call it a day, it’s not even meant to do anything about the police states budding everywhere.

                                                                  You keep on bringing up government surveillance but GDPR does not have anything to do with that. It’s a fine fight to have but it’s not related to this particular discussion, there are other laws and legislation around government agencies.

                                                                  How about “no onerous bullshit legislation”?

                                                                  This is an entirely unactionable suggestion. One person’s onerous bullshit legislation is another’s opportunity. There is not meaningful way to turn this useless platitude into a working economic system.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    You keep on bringing up government surveillance but GDPR does not have anything to do with that.

                                                                    Privacy, hello?

                                                                    This is an entirely unactionable suggestion.

                                                                    You’re saying onerous bullshit legislation has to be created, but that’s not true.

                                                                    One person’s onerous bullshit legislation is another’s opportunity.

                                                                    Duh? Of course it benefits whoever charges you money for dealing with the bullshit. So what?

                                                                    There is not meaningful way to turn this useless platitude into a working economic system.

                                                                    That sounds like you’re over-exerting yourself in trying to sound smart.

                                                              2. 1

                                                                This is exactly the point I am trying to make. How can a business take advantage of GDPR and build a “legal” tracking system that you can turn into a recommender system for example.

                                                                1. 0

                                                                  Well you’re basically just advertising your http://grakn.ai/ service, and trying to polish the GDPR turd in the process.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    I am not actually working for GRAKN which is not a service but a database. I build a proof of concept for the company I work for. I had considered neo4j for the task but found GRAKN better suited. GRAKN did appreciate my proof of concept and asked me to publish my paper.

                                                              1. 6

                                                                I feel like the article and the survey themselves are somewhat biased. There appears to be a desire to paint Silicon Valley as absurdly leftist and thought-policey (the evidence here is that the only concrete event mentioned by the survey is the Google “diversity memo” in which a person with no training in psychology, sociology, or biology claimed certain things as fact while the respective scientific communities still treat them as open questions, and claimed that any attempt to disagree with this was the product of an “ideological echo chamber,” which is more combative than it is conversational).

                                                                The survey didn’t mention, for example, Peter Thiel, Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, or other major conservatives heavily involved in Silicon Valley.

                                                                It also kind of ignores the obvious thing: a lot of the issues that people complain they can’t talk about revolve around essentially private things: marriage, private sex lives, abortion, pregnancy, gender, etc…These things aren’t appropriate to talk about in a workplace, regardless of how you feel about them. They never were, in Silicon Valley or elsewhere. If you feel upset that people don’t like you talking about other people’s private business, that’s not evidence that those people are actively biased, it’s that they’re actively professional.

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  “The survey didn’t mention, for example, Peter Thiel, Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, or other major conservatives heavily involved in Silicon Valley.”

                                                                  Billiomaires and executives are an entirely different class of workers than average employee. They can ignore, side step, or run through problems that low-level folks often cant. People with unpopular views wanting big money might be trying to get through recruiters or HR to a small number of companies. Whereas a much larger number will take one of the people you mentioned or try to get an investment from them.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    …or try to get an investment from them.

                                                                    Right. If I want to do well in Silicon Valley, I might be forced to think twice about espousing liberal left views if I’m talking to one of the VCs or strategy firms that one of those big names is involved with.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      That’s a good point. It could come into play there. Double true if you’re pro-Union. ;)

                                                                  2. 4

                                                                    the Google “diversity memo” in which a person with no training in psychology, sociology, or biology claimed certain things as fact

                                                                    You appeal to his purported lack of authority, but in fact, he had a master’s degree in biology from Harvard: http://www.businessinsider.com/james-damore-removes-phd-studies-linkedin-2017-8

                                                                    Obviously you didn’t even read what he actually wrote.

                                                                    1. 3

                                                                      You’re right; I’d forgotten he had a biology degree (the Diversity Memo isn’t something I think about often). I still argue he made a mistake by claiming things as true, or likely so, when the scientific community as a whole still treats it as an open question. He also ascribed any disagreement as an “ideological echo chamber”…which is not inviting discussion, but denigrating disagreement: the very thing he accused Google of doing.

                                                                      I likewise think my other point still stands as well: sexual orientation, gender, marriage, and so on, are private matters. It’s not appropriate to talk about someone else’s private life, neither in Silicon Valley nor elsewhere.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    Modern large-scale market economies where people trade with strangers on a daily basis are only possible because of another solution: third-party enforcement. In particular, this means state-enforced contracts and bills of exchange enforced by banks

                                                                    For example E-Bay has shown that reputation-based marketplaces work just fine, for an indeterminate amount of time.

                                                                    If “third-party enforcement” is needed, it doesn’t absolutely positively need to be by a nation-state, specifically. Anyone with half a brain could come up with ideas for some kind of co-operative arbitration.

                                                                    Currency can be modeled as [..academic mental masturbation..]. Traders collectively have an interest in maintaining a stable currency, because it acts as a lubricant to trade. But each trader individually has an interest in debasing the currency, in the sense of paying with fake money (what in blockchain-speak is referred to as double spending). Again the classic solution to this dilemma is third-party enforcement: the state polices metal currencies and punishes counterfeiters

                                                                    Actually, traders collectively have an interest in using money that can’t be counterfeited nor debased. Gold fit the bill for ages, and now cryptocurrencies show promise of something similar.

                                                                    Again, there’s no need for a nation-state to “enforce” anything when sound money is used.

                                                                    The enforcer is in a powerful position in relation to the enforced: banks COULD extract exorbitant fees, and states COULD abuse their power by debasing the currency, illegitimately freezing assets, or enforcing contracts in unfair ways.

                                                                    (Emphasis mine)

                                                                    “Could”, you say? Fuuuckkk.

                                                                    Bank fees are kept in check by competition: the enforced can switch to another enforcer if the fees get excessive.

                                                                    This seems to conflate “competition” between banks and nation-states. The former doesn’t exist, because banks are a state-enforced (!) cartel everywhere, and governments are working hard to eliminate the need for the latter.

                                                                    Less than a hundred years ago, passports didn’t even exist. You could just show up anywhere, which sure made a lot of sense.

                                                                    But immigration just keeps getting more and more difficult as time goes by. It’s almost as if nation-states didn’t want you to have a way out of getting exploited by them and their cronies! Go figure.

                                                                    Who makes the rules matters at least as much as who enforces them. Blockchain technology may provide for completely impartial rule-enforcement, but that is of little comfort if the rules themselves are changed. This rule-making is what we refer to as governance.

                                                                    Here the author actually has a point!

                                                                    But overall, he’s basically just cheerleading for government intervention, which is never a “solution” to anything besides the “problem” of a government not having yet another way of exploiting the masses.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      For example E-Bay has shown that reputation-based marketplaces work just fine, for an indeterminate amount of time.

                                                                      Not just Ebay. A forum like Watchuseek has more or less organically built up a reputation system that allows trades like this to be made.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      There’s racism/inequality in government surveillance too!

                                                                      We must fight for our right to be surveilled just as much as minorities are!

                                                                      Surely, governments will find it in their hearts to graciously grant us that right. Write to your congressperson today, and ask for more surveillance!

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        I don’t think the objective of the article is to point out that we should be surveilled as much as minorities are…

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                                                                          I wasn’t being serious?

                                                                          The author seems confused. He’s speaking governmentese, discussing what the US government’s laws say about surveillance and related court precedents, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the government will surveil whatever the fuck it pleases, no matter what its own laws say.

                                                                          The Fourth Amendment, among our strongest safeguards against police overreach

                                                                          Despite all the police abuse we’ve all seen, he still thinks the fourth amendment is a “safeguard”, like it’s magic text that somehow prevents police thugs from engaging in thuggery?

                                                                          And so on.. the article isn’t much more than a virtue-signalling fluff piece, and a testament to the author’s confusion about reality.

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                                                                          I don’t think that your troll comments will convince anyone to shift to your anti-government stance, so maybe just don’t write them?

                                                                          I’ve seen quite a few of your comments now, and they hammer the same point rather monotonously, suggesting that your position lacks depth and nuance. Perhaps you should spend some time considering how your no-government utopia (or whatever it is you want to see) would work in practice? You might be surprised by your conclusions, or at least you’ll have more convincing arguments.

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                                                                            It’s funny how you accuse me of trolling, with a comment that’s indistinguishable from trolling :P

                                                                            your position lacks depth and nuance

                                                                            You’re skirting around being on to something there. For example, there isn’t any nuance to extortion being immoral, or text on a piece of parchment not having magical powers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngpsJKQR_ZE&t=8

                                                                            Perhaps you should spend some time considering

                                                                            Perhaps you should? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNIgztvyU2U

                                                                            Even those two videos are more than enough to make any sane person agree with me, so I’ll just stop here.

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                                                                              I think you’re making two assumptions:

                                                                              • Lobste.rs is a good place to share your outrage
                                                                              • People here have never heard about anarchism or abuse of government powers or anything related.

                                                                              I disagree with both of these assumptions. I think most people here are extremely well informed, and I also think most people prefer this site to be an outrage-free zone.

                                                                              Now, I would like to read an intelligent argument for how anarchy would work in practice with 7.5 billion people on the planet, and particularly how you would transition to it from the current world order. That would be a worthwhile thing you could write. The videos you linked don’t even begin to address any of it.

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                                                                                how anarchy would work in practice with 7.5 billion people on the planet, and particularly how you would transition to it from the current world order

                                                                                If chattel slavery were abolished, who would pick the cotton? There could be severe disruptions to supply chains, companies might go bankrupt and people might lose their jobs!

                                                                                Also, how well is being enslaved by governments “working” for you?

                                                                                I think most people here are extremely well informed, and I also think most people prefer this site to be an outrage-free zone.

                                                                                Reality doesn’t just go away if you ignore it hard enough, you know? That’s basically what you’re suggesting with the “outrage-free zone”.

                                                                                So are almost all psychopaths resigned to a fate of being enslaved for ever by governments? Or why is this site so free of outrage in general?

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                                                                            The proximate cause of every single one of our societal problems is government, one way or another, because all it does is coerce people to benefit the elites at everyone else’s expense.

                                                                            Could you please do me the mental gymnastics to explain how, for example, man made Climate Change is a “big government” caused issue? Or will you go down the usual libertarian route to simply deny it?

                                                                            Markets aren’t ideal, and starting from the assumption that they are, but blaming some “external” cause for it’s own deficiencies, is just intellectually dishonest. Nobody is going to claim that any government are perfect, but for some reason it’s acceptable to hail an economic abstraction as the ultimate solution. People aren’t utility optimising monadic individuals, they make irrational decision based on advertising, miscalculation, subjective preferences, etc. (and all of this would get worse with AI) but all of this doesn’t exist in the eyes of the market fundamentalist. Every decision the market “makes” has to be intrinsically right, just because it was “consentual”, while at the same time ignoring all the factors one didn’t get to choose? That’s hyper relativism if you ask me, and fundamentally contradicts reality, I’m sorry to say that.

                                                                            I don’t mean to insult anyone or start a flame war, but this kind of dogmatic nonsense just really annoys me.

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                                                                              Could you please do me the mental gymnastics to explain how, for example, man made Climate Change is a “big government” caused issue?

                                                                              Is climate change a societal problem?

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                                                                                The question was about “man manged climate change”. You’re doing it again, btw. The dishonest stuff, since your dogma is entirely in contradiction to reality.

                                                                                But back to man made climate change - of course it’s a social issue, since the problem is exact that the current social organisation produces industries and practices that are obviously harmful to the ecology of planet earth. How else would one want to do something against man made climate change, but socially? Naturally? Supernaturally? Via “the market”?

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                                                                                  The dishonest stuff, since your dogma is entirely in contradiction to reality.

                                                                                  My “dogma” is essentially just that aggressing against people is immoral and should not be done. It’s not that complicated. The implications are massive though, and not seen at all by the masses.

                                                                                  Governments are all about violating that principle, which is why they shouldn’t exist at all.

                                                                                  It’s of course possible to scam someone in a free market, but a free market itself is essentially just people engaging in unhindered productive activities and unhindered voluntary exchanges.

                                                                                  Here’s a Red Pill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngpsJKQR_ZE&t=8

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                                                                              Actually, free market capitalism would reward people for not being scumbags.

                                                                              It’s doing it right now. They get away with being scumbags so long as (a) the benefits they provide are better than the competitions by some amount or (b) they cover up the way they’re being scumbags. The cartel effect you see in the market with things such as telecoms, car dealerships, and so on is (a) in action. They’re all greedy, destructive assholes since a lack of better alternatives within your geographic range boosts profits for all. For (b), that would be especially the food industry, drug industry, and much advertising combined with complicit or well-paid media. That covers up a lot of evil bullshit that directly improves the numbers of the companies involved. The mere existence of damaging leaks about big companies’ activities that doesn’t put them out of business supports my point here,

                                                                              Your big miss here is that both free market and government are reflections of human nature. They’ll both have good and bad depending on whose running the active entities and whose keeping them in check (or not). The “free market” isn’t magic: it’s people telling other people whatever they need to for money to change hands. Bullshit might get even more likely in markets more like that since businesses would come and go fast to point there’s hardly reputation. Even reputation services developing might be paid to be full of shit. Closest to those models are online black markets and competitive places with no I.P. protection such as Shenzhen. It is harder to find quality or safe products in those markets compared to my local market according to people experienced in [successfully] dealing with them. So, your claim doesn’t hold up under either human nature or real-world examples of unregulated markets. They were all extra evil with the physical markets often killing people.

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                                                                                It’s doing it right now. [..] The cartel effect you see in the market with things such as telecoms

                                                                                You do know that telecoms are a state-maintained cartel in every country, don’t you?

                                                                                They get away with being scumbags so long as (a) the benefits they provide are better than the competitions by some amount or (b) they cover up the way they’re being scumbags.

                                                                                And what does “being a scumbag” mean there? Is it something you’d actually get away with in a world without governments?

                                                                                Your big miss here is that both free market and government are reflections of human nature.

                                                                                No they’re not. Governments are reflections of psychopathy. Actual humans have a vastly different nature.

                                                                                I’ll stop here.

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                                                                                  Just a little more..

                                                                                  The “free market” isn’t magic: it’s people telling other people whatever they need to for money to change hands.

                                                                                  That’s one way to put it, if you want to paint it in a negative light. Here’s another: the free market is people making voluntary exchanges, investments and agreements.

                                                                                  For (b), that would be especially the food industry, drug industry, and much advertising combined with complicit or well-paid media. That covers up a lot of evil bullshit that directly improves the numbers of the companies involved.

                                                                                  If you don’t think the bullshit they’re getting away with is enabled by the government, you’re not really familiar with the topic of free markets, or freedom in general.

                                                                                  The “well-paid media” is run by the government too, and as you surely know, essentially just a propaganda outlet. Yes, it does cover up a lot of bullshit. In a free society, it wouldn’t even exist in its current form.

                                                                                  Bullshit might get even more likely in markets more like that since businesses would come and go fast to point there’s hardly reputation

                                                                                  Perhaps you’d only buy from established businesses with a good reputation, then? It’s not like those would be non-existent.

                                                                                  Even reputation services developing might be paid to be full of shit.

                                                                                  Sure, and if they were found out, people could just go beat their owners to a pulp for being scumbags. Without a government to protect scumbags, they’d think really carefully before engaging in scumbaggery.

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                                                                                  I guess by “insight” he means “not being scumbags” or something.

                                                                                  I think he means what he laid out earlier:

                                                                                  In psychology, the term “insight” is used to describe a recognition of one’s own condition, such as when a person with mental illness is aware of their illness. More broadly, it describes the ability to recognize patterns in one’s own behavior. It’s an example of metacognition, or thinking about one’s own thinking […]

                                                                                  Which I suppose might be a requirement for not being a scumbag.

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                                                                                  I really can’t feel bad for companies on this. They’ve demonstrated over and over again that they can’t be trusted to do the right thing on their own.

                                                                                  I wish the United States could enact a law like this, but who am I kidding?

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                                                                                    I really can’t feel bad for companies on this. They’ve demonstrated over and over again that they can’t be trusted to do the right thing on their own.

                                                                                    Even the one-man companies currently just starting out that are under threat of 20M EUR fines for not complying with rules that are practically impossible to comply with?

                                                                                    You’re not seeing the big picture here. The EU says it wants to “protect” people with GDPR, while all governments are spying on people as much as they can.. It’s fucking ridiculous.

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                                                                                      Even the one-man companies currently just starting out that are under threat of 20M EUR fines for not complying with rules that are practically impossible to comply with?

                                                                                      Especially those ones because otherwise they have no checks and balances whatsoever and the single person in charge will do whatever they feel like without telling anybody.

                                                                                      We don’t let small restaurants ignore food safety, or small construction companies ignore building codes, why would we let small internet companies ignore privacy regulations?

                                                                                      You’re not seeing the big picture here. The EU says it wants to “protect” people with GDPR, while all governments are spying on people as much as they can.. It’s fucking ridiculous.

                                                                                      Just because the government is spying on us doesn’t mean we should allow corporations to do it too. We don’t have to solve both problems at the same time.

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                                                                                          I’ve downvoted you as troll because we don’t have anything like “unnecessarily rude”.

                                                                                          Please try to be less abrasive with your posts.

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                                                                                            Do you sincerely think that small companies need to be threatened with 20M EUR fines to keep them in check?

                                                                                            Another way of putting this is “do you sincerely think that small companies need to be threatened with being put out of business entirely if they disregard their customers’ safety?” and my answer is yes, absolutely.

                                                                                            Restaurants operate perfectly well under there threat of “if you give a noticeable quantity of customers food poisoning even once, the FSA will permanently shut you down”.

                                                                                            It’s perfectly sensible to me that any other business capable of ruining a whole bunch of peoples’ lives should be held to the same standard.

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                                                                                              Another way of putting this is “do you sincerely think that small companies need to be threatened with being put out of business entirely if they disregard their customers’ safety?” and my answer is yes, absolutely.

                                                                                              You know you’re comparing apples to oranges, right? Someone’s e-mail address staying in a database somewhere “against his will” is not comparable to feeding people rotten/contaminated food or something.

                                                                                              Regardless, neither warrants a 20M EUR penalty, and in the first case, it’s just utterly insane. You also understand that just fine, so why are you arguing against me?

                                                                                              It’s as if EU regulators were completely oblivious to the existence of small businesses, which they’re actually not, of course, because they’re not that fucking retarded/insane.

                                                                                              So they’ve set MegaCorp level fines for everyone for some reason other than insanity/stupidity. But it’s not for no reason, and it’s not because it’s reasonable either.

                                                                                              And obvious truth is met with hostility, as always.

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                                                                                                you’re comparing apples to oranges

                                                                                                Privacy violations don’t happen at a rate of 1 or 2 per incident, they hit thousands of people at a time.

                                                                                                neither warrants a 20M EUR penalty

                                                                                                You won’t be paying 20M EUR. Your company will be accruing a 20M EUR debt that it will immediately fold under. You founded a limited liability company for this reason. The number could be 13.37B EUR and that outcome would be the same for small companies.

                                                                                                Folding your company is a perfectly fair outcome for you flagrantly violating other peoples’ privacy rights.

                                                                                                met with hostility

                                                                                                I didn’t say anything rude to you at all. You asked a question, “Do you sincerely think that small companies need to be threatened with 20M EUR fines to keep them in check?” and I gave a completely polite answer. You just read it as hostile because you don’t like that answer edit: because people downvoted you a lot, which, to be fair, probably feels hostile.

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                                                                                              Do you sincerely think that small companies need to be threatened with 20M EUR fines to keep them in check?

                                                                                              I do sincerely think companies who can’t respect people’s privacy and don’t take the issue seriously should go out of business. The size of the company has nothing to do with it. The potential damage done once the info escapes into the wild is the same either way.

                                                                                              It’s unfortunate that it takes the threat of a 20M EUR fine and possibly going out of business to drive the point home, but asking nicely and hoping companies do the right thing hasn’t worked.

                                                                                              Who’s “we”? -The faceless bureaucracy of the EU that’s hoisting this pile of garbage on productive people?

                                                                                              If they can’t harness some of that productivity to protect the private data they collect, then good riddance.

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                                                                                            The EU says it wants to “protect” people with GDPR, while all governments are spying on people as much as they can

                                                                                            States (for better or worse) need a monopoly on coercion. Some of them have realized that the breakdown of privacy is eroding that monopoly, and they’re reacting.

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                                                                                                What doesn’t make sense about it?

                                                                                                I’m not making a value judgement about whether it’s a good thing or not; I’m giving a reason why a self-interested state would choose this course of action.

                                                                                                Separating value judgement from behavioral reasoning is the only way to make sense of others behavior when they don’t share your values.

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                                                                                              Why do you think they are impossible to comply with? Germany has had laws like this for years and it works just fine.

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                                                                                            How exactly does the EU think it can make people not sell to EU citizens if they have no local presence?

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                                                                                                Some pesky EU citizen registers with his e-mail and expects his or her private data to be private. What are those pesky EU citizens even thinking, that data should be left unsecured, sold to third parties and be used in any other fashion for profit at the expense of the customer!

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                                                                                                    The fact that you’re using EU and governments interchangeably tells a lot about how much you understand how things work in the EU, especially how laws get passed.

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                                                                                                      The EU is like an additional layer of rulers, on top of your local rulers.

                                                                                                      Consider the implications. What do you think I’m missing?

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                                                                                                        Your description is wrong.

                                                                                                        There are two main bodies: the European Commission and the European Parliament. The European Commission is responsible for proposing legislation and implementing decisions (and other stuff but that’s not relevant right now) and the European Parliament, whose members are elected by citizens in various EU members. Those members of the European Parliament elect the members of the European Commission.

                                                                                                        As a member of the EU, it’s true that you can’t have any kind of legislation that’s against the current EU laws but the same applies to local by-laws vs federal laws, for example. But by no means this can be translated into “a layer of rulers on top of local rulers”. The format is somewhat similar to the US Congress, which is at the federal level, and each state’s elected officials and I don’t think you can call a representative or a senator “a ruler on top of the state ruler”. The European Union is a bit more divided than the US so the dynamics are obviously quite different but it’s very helpful to have something that can minimize the impact of various far-left or far-right leaders (one example would be Hungary’s Viktor Orban, but there are others as well).

                                                                                                        Also, what you say implies that there’s some sort of agenda that some people have and steer the EU into one direction or the other. The best argument against that is the convoluted process of passing any kind of laws: basically the European Commission proposes a law, it gets pushed to the Parliament, which can propose some changes and sends it back to the EC and the process is restarted and if they don’t agree on the second reading then a third body, the European Council, is added to the discussion for a “trilogue”. As you can well imagine, this usually takes years. For example, the proposal for GDPR was submitted on the 25th of January 2012.

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                                                                                                  you are actually right, but I think instead of “deciding that you’re fucked” it will most likely be someone who complains for unsolicited mail or something and it will point EU towards the company and they will start investigate. Then it will be 20M per infraction or worse 4% of your income.