For current political commentary, see the daily political notes.
RMS' Bio | The GNU Project
"Zumigo, which sold the location data of American cell phone users, wanted the FCC to remove requirements around user consent."
Requiring consent is not sufficient to make this acceptable. We need to require that any software that can send a user's location offer the option of spoofing the location.
Socialism for the rich now includes oil companies in the UK, which are shirking the responsibility to clean up and shut down oil drilling platforms in the North Sea.
Big companies have a history of using bankruptcy to evade responsibilities, even pension obligations. Rather than trust a company to come up with money later to carry out its responsibilities, we should make it put the money in escrow in advance when it incurs the obligation, on a schedule that collects the money while the project is profitable.
Facebook and Google provide support on contract to specific political campaigns. Given the role they play in communication between citizens, this is a conflict of interest, and should be prohibited.
The way to reduce the waste from plastic things is to reduce the quantity of such things that are made.
"Recycling" plastic by burning it is even more ironic than the article says. The process consists basically of extracting petroleum from the ground and then burning it, but differs from the usual way of doing so in that the petroleum (more precisely, some fraction of it) passes through an intermediate stage as plastic. This does not reduce the greenhouse gas output.
Imagine if every item made of plastic — even fairly durable items — carried a deposit. If the item is recycled in less than 5 years, the consumer gets the deposit back. If it is recycled after 5 years, the consumer refund is a decreasing fraction of the original deposit; after 10 years, the refund goes to zero.
This law would engourage making plastic items that would remain usable for a longer period of time. It could even help put an end to planned obsolescence.
Over 100 billion UKP worth of real estate in England and Wales is owned by anonymous corporations set up in tax havens.
It would be easy to make this problem disappear: just put a heavy tax on ownership of property through chains that cannot be tracked backed to real people. An even stronger measure would be to make that a crime, so that on demonstration that a given property is owned that way, the government could seize it.
The San Francisco sheriff department protected some of its thugs from a criminal investigation by destroying the evidence.
If they can't be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, the law needs to be changed to allow that.
We should make participation in cheating employees a crime for the individuals that do it, to threaten the managers responsible with jail, rather than merely the corporation with a small fine.
The article describes two alternative plans for choosing who to punish in this way, but the effect would be the same: to punish ordinary users of bitcoins effectively at random. Ostensibly it is not random, but rather based on a criterion that ordinary users couldn't hope to check, so it's effectively equivalent to punishment at random.
It is fundamentally unjust to subject people to punishment at random. Constitutions ought to insist that no one can be punished, or legally discriminated against, or have property seized, based on circumstances not feasible for them to have recognized and avoided.
Even if many small countries do not adopt this requirement, large countries could effectively make it compulsory by denying the tax deduction as a business expense for payments to companies whose ultimate beneficial owner is not registered.
We need a law requiring the immigration agency to publish all its data about a particular person's interrogation or exclusion, if that person publicly asks. We must not allow the agency to hide its refusal to explain itself to the victim behind a facade of concern for the victim's own privacy.
The coup-running "president" of the Maldives seems to be trying to rig the coming election.
I suspect that "president" Yameen's coup was organized by fossil fuel interests.
In recent years he has put the country in China's pocket by accepting loans for unnecessary projects, such as a bridge that in a few decades will connect one patch of ocean to another patch of ocean.
We need an international system for countries that have emerged from dictatorship to repudiate the debts imposed by tyrants and corrupt rulers. That will teach plutocrats to stop trying to enslave countries through lending to those rulers.
When the islands are awash and no one lives there any more, China will foreclose on them and build a naval base there.
I propose a law that performing face recognition on an image requires a court order.
$340,000 is a substantial fine, but perhaps not enough to influence people as rich as they are. Perhaps industrial fines should be increased based on the company's total income, the way some places increase traffic fines based on the driver's income.
We have to put an end to this "independent contractor" bullshit.
A company that pays people to do more than 1000 hours per week of a certain kind of work should be required to hire full-time employees to do at least 80% of that work. If the work amounts to more than 10,000 hours per week, the company should have hire full-times to do 90% of it. At more than 30,000 hours of work per week, there must be enough full-timers to do 95% of it.
Work farmed out to contractor companies should count towards the total just as if there were no middleman, and that slight differences in the details of the work should not divide it legally into separate pools.
Talk to Deliveroo Couriers. See a Dystopia That Could Be Your Future.
Companies that use many workers to do a large amount of a particular job should be required to hire full-time or half-time employees, with all the usual rights of employees, to do the majority of that work.
To listen to music and not be a jerk, you need to be in a position to share copies with your friends. Normally this means listening to your own nonoppressive local copy. A nonoppressive copy is one that has no DRM or anything else that would interfere with sharing.
Any system of listening to music that discourages people from having nonoppressive local copies is encouraging people to be jerks. Let's legislate against such systems.
Out, out, damned spotify!
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