This week, we were pleased to see a cop lose his a immunity in a case over arresting someone on a baseless warrant, but Anonymous Anonymous Coward won most insightful comment of the week by wondering why that’s all that happened:
What about the judge who signed the warrant that was so lacking in probable cause? Does the Fourth Circuit have any authority to remove their qualified immunity? Of course not. How about a slap on the wrist? This article, and another I read about the same case do not mention any. Should not rubber stamping by deaf and blind judges get some action?
For second place, we head to our post about the ongoing absurd demands from European news publishers that want Google to pay them for linking to them. One commenter brought up the fact that they can always use robots.txt to block Google, and PaulT cut to the heart of the matter and their real intentions:
That always gets mentioned, but the fact is this – they don’t want to stop Google et al from accessing their content. They simply want to force everyone to pay them, even if those links are increasing traffic anyway. They don’t want to find new ways to monetise traffic, they just want to be paid for existing. Just look at their reaction when Google pulled out of certain countries – their reaction was to claim extortion because Google didn’t want to pay the extra tax.
So, while robots.txt is indeed an easy solution to stopping Google from indexing their content, that’s not what they want. They simply want to be paid for doing nothing.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out on our post about Apple’s amusing claim that Nebraska would become a “mecca for hackers” if it protects the right to repair. TheOtherDude quite reasonably wondered which part of that would actually be a bad thing:
I would think Nebraska becoming a Mecca for nearly anything would be good news. If it becomes a mecca for highly skilled technical resources, well sit back and wait for the innovation and in coming economic boom. Seems to me this is more of an argument for the bill then against it.
Meanwhile, Mashable was making its own problematic argument against right to repair laws by pushing the concern that people might hurt themselves if they don’t know what they are doing. That One Guy highlighted the flaws there by playing a substitution game with their on words:
I think it’s a fair concern that Right-to-Drive laws could lead to an explosion of car and truck dealerships. Consumers will wander on foot on on a bike, and drive out with a multi-ton machine of wheeled-death, thinking they can control it. And they will fail, miserably.
Plus, what if a consumer’s injured during a failed attempt to drive somewhere? They slam a finger in a door, or drive incorrectly, so the vehicle runs into something (and maybe even explodes). It’s the consumer’s fault, obviously, but they could also try to sue Ford or Chrysler.
Tl:dr version: Just because you and your friend don’t think you can be trusted to do your own repairs doesn’t mean the poor public needs to be protected from being able to do so. They’re big boys and girls, they can deal with the results from a botched repair job if they’re willing to take that risk.
Over on the funny side, we start out on the story about German regulators warning parents to destroy an internet-connected doll because it might be used for surveillance. Roger Strong won first place by engaging in some speculative future fiction:
DHS demands your My Friend Cayla doll’s MAC address at the border.
The FBI demands access to the doll’s cloud servers because terrorists.
Music collecting societies realize that the audio captured by the dolls might include music, and start demanding royalties.
- Google uses IFTTT to connect the doll to the self-driving car they place it in, to make it appear that the doll is driving. Highway patrol officers declare the doll’s behavior “suspicious”, and the car is taken via civil asset forfeiture.
For second place, we head back to Apple’s “hacker mecca” comments, and specifically that the right to repair bill would “make it very easy for hackers to relocate to Nebraska”. One anonymous commenter fleshed out the accusation:
And I also hear the Nebraska Right to Repair bill is earmarking money for a hacker gated community, hacker bike sharing program and hacker farmers market in order to further spur their hacker economic recovery plan.
Sorry Folks, but they are correct to worry.
In my mis-spent youth, I used to hop on my bicycle and ride down to Allied to pick up a Sams Photofact on the family TV; then pop the back off, plug in the cheater cord, and start looking for blue tubes (orange good, blue bad). Power down, pop ’em out, back on the bike and over to radio shack. Pop ’em in the tube tester, buy the ones I needed, get the replacement caps, back home and voila, family TV repaired.
My slide into the horrors of hacker life had begun. Next I was rebuilding car engines, transmissions, building electronic circuits – and finally into programming. True hacking at its worst.
Hell, I still do my own auto work, thus depriving the dealer of excessive profits from $99 oil changes, $199 brake jobs… This hacker lifestyle has just ruined me.
And yes, I work on my John Deere myself.
Damn 64 year old hacker. I’m Never gonna learn.
Finally, we head to our post about the Arizona legislature’s bill allowing the seizure of assets from protestors. One commenter, Thad, released a particular kind of virus into the comments… I missed it myself and thus avoided infection, until reviewing the leaderboards for this week’s comments where it turned out another commenter was spreading it. And now I’m making it an epidemic. Don’t have any idea what the hell I’m talking about? Well, Sorrykb gets the final editor’s choice:
Goddammit Thad. [Closes techdirt, revealing 87 open TV Tropes tabs]
That’s all for this week, folks!