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Technology 4 Lives

Posts Tagged ‘internet’

“Nutella covered person,” and other psychotic Google searches leading to my blog

Every so often, I like to check Google Analytics to see what search terms are leading people to my website. This is the sort of endeavor that always seems like a good idea until you actually do it, and then you feel a sort of dirtiness that all the soap, water, and acetone in the world cannot remove.

Most of the search terms were pretty obvious, consisting of the names of specific people mentioned in posts, and the occasional legal search term. A handful, though, range from amusing to bemusing to downright macabre. Screencaps and commentary to follow (click screencaps to embiggen).

I. A darkly-amusing variant on some previous posts:

Google search: how is john thomas ford doing in jail

Search term #45: “how is john thomas ford doing in jail”

I sure couldn’t tell you. As far as I know, he’ll be there a while. Ask somebody who cares.

II. I guess I could see how this led you to me, but…

Google search: "i don't heart caplocks"

Search term #46: ”i don’t heart caplocks”

Neither do I. People who type with caps lock on make me very, very ANGRY.

III. You came to the wrong place for this:

Google search: "boobs"

Search term #35: “boobs”

Nothing to see here. Move along….

Google search: "utah boobs"

Search term # 59: “utah boobs”

Um, I did once write a post with both “boobs” and “Utah” in the title, but that only explains my side of this equation.

Is there something about boobs in Utah that merits such a specific search? Have I been living under a delusion that boobs are pretty much the same all over the world? I tried Googling to see what I could learn, but I just ended up back on my own site.

Google search: "sexy pics online"

Search term #57: “sexy pics online”

The fact that someone actually clicked on a website called Wells Law Office looking for “sexy pics” makes me very, very concerned for the future of this country.

IV. Wait, what?

Google search: "nutella covered person"

Search term #54: “nutella covered person”

V. Now I am scared…

Google search: "rape sex in an elevator"

Search term #27: “rape sex in an elevator”

I assume this led to my post on “Elevatorgate” from last summer. I cannot fathom, nor do I wish to fathom, what one person searching three times expected to find.

Google search: "www.animalsdog.com xxx"

Search term #60: ”www.animalsdog.com xxx”

Ummm, uh…..I, uh……um…….

Thank you all for coming. I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here, but I think it is clear that the internet is over. Everyone please back away quietly…..

At least I know that the people doing these particular searches did not actually spend any time on my site.

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Networked cars, and legal stuff that comes from that or something

Lexus Gen V navigation systemFor my second (and last) CLE session at South by Southwest, I went to something called “The Automobile As Network Node.” I’m going to quote from the course materials, because I really didn’t understand any of it:

Automobiles are increasingly connected to computer networks and are used to collect, use and share vehicle-related information. They also provide a delivery mechanism for driving, entertainment and other content and information. This panel will discuss legal issues arising out of and related to the collection, use and disclosure of vehicle-related information and related emerging legal issues of data use in or related to vehicles.

Aside from an unintentional bad pun, I can’t say I got much out of this. That’s entirely my fault, for not having any foundation that would allow me to understand the material. I did learn the word telematics, whose definition is roughly paraphrased as the “intersection of when the vehicle knows where it is located and has the ability to engage in two-way communication.” The original idea was to allow a person who needed help to call for it, using embedded mobile technology. I am fuzzy on the technology and the legal issues.

I’m kind of disappointed in myself, because this means I checked out on a seminar on intelligent cars. Dangit.

It did yield the best audience question ever, though: “Are self-driving cars plausible from a legal standpoint?”

I wish I could remember the answer.

Photo credit: Enigma3542002 at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

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Music in the cloud

Cloud or con trail, Cranborne, DorsetToday I decided to avail myself of some of South by Southwest‘s CLE offerings. Since I have some interest in internet law, including issues like cloud security, I was very interested in “Gimme Shelter from the Storm Clouds.” This was advertised as a panel looking at “the disruption caused by some new cloud-based services and how this disruption is affecting existing industries.” That’s not exactly what they talked about. The panel consisted of two lawyers and the owner of mp3tunes, a “music locker” service.

Let’s just say there were fireworks.

Copyright law allows people to keep “ephemeral phonorecords,” meaning digital copies of music you own, i.e. ripped copies of your own CD’s. It gets tricky when you start sharing that music with others, and it gets really tricky when you upload that music to the internet. A major issue for the cloud is whether a license is required for every digital copy of a song. There does not seem to be a consensus on this question–if there is, it was not in evidence today. It’s still a pretty good question.

Who has the burden of establishing whether a given track infringes a copyright? The law basically says that the copyright holder has that burden, but they argue that the service provider has the most readily available information on the upload itself. On the other hand, the service provider does not have the resources to review every possible license a file could have. The technology is advancing far, far faster than the law can possibly pace.

A few years ago, mp3tunes reportedly received a copyright takedown notice after it linked to a song on the SXSW website. This was, according to the speaker, just a link to the page where the song was posted. I asked how that could possibly be infringement, and he told me that it was an attempt by the copyright holder to intimidate him, or something along those lines. I find the argument interesting given that one website linking to another is pretty much the foundation of the internet, without which SEO wouldn’t even be possible. The question of whether linking to copyrighted material, especially deep linking to specific files, is infringement is still somewhat of an open question.

They talked about the MegaUpload case at length. On the one hand, the federal government arrested a large number of people for copyright infringement–not normally a criminal matter per se–and seized all of their assets with little to no due process. On the other hand, a comparison was made to a RICO prosecution. I’m not as familiar with the case as I should be, so I guess this will lead to more posts.

Photo credit: Cloud or con trail, Cranborne, Dorset, copyright Clive Perrin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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Pinterest is going to change the world. At a quantum level. Or something. I really don’t know.

People Who Use Pinterest  via ilovechartsI don’t get Pinterest. I’m not going to deny that many, many people seem to love it. It seems to primarily appeal to women, so (a) I can accept that perhaps I am just demographically excluded, and (b) I’m not going to overly bemoan something that millions of people seem to enjoy so much.

Its status as the fastest-growing social network is both impressive (12 million unique visitors) and relatively meaningless (6 or 7 years ago, most people had no idea what “social media” was). I signed up for Pinterest in January, and every day I get new followers, mostly because you can register through Facebook, and it will auto-follow your Facebook friends for you–every time one of my Facebook friends signs up, therefore, I get a new follower on Pinterest. It’s like signing up for a free friend-delivery service!

I also created a “board” (where you “pin” photos that you either upload to the site or link to elsewhere on the web) out of a sense of sarcasm. After encountering a series of pictures of Nutella-coated bacon on the aptly-named Geeks are Sexy site, I had an epiphany. As soon as I figured out that Firefox’s cut-and-paste function for some reason does not work well with Pinterest’s code, the “Food porn” board was born. It currently has 182 followers. All it requires is occasional Google image searches of phrases like “key lime pie” and “bacon-covered meat.”

It should be no surprise, therefore, that this website, which only went fully public a little over a year ago, has “experts” in its use in small business marketing. Anyone with the ability to use the word “expert” with no apparent sense of irony can become a “social media expert” in this day and age.

Nutella-covered bacon, via Pinterest, via geeksaresexyOf interest to people who care about such things is the suspicion that Pinterest might actually be a massive, albeit possibly unintentional, mechanism for enabling copyright infringement. At its most basic level, Pinterest is a means to post other peoples’ pictures online with no requirement of correct attribution. Of course, the entire internet is a mechanism for failing to attribute copyrighted material correctly, but Pinterest has made it so much easier. It’s like Flickr for stealing.

Also, as everyone by now knows, the site may have some interesting ways of making money.

I’m not holding my breath that Pinterest is going to change the world. For every revolution aided by social media’s ability to connect people, there are around 2,000 boards that really only help some recent sorority member pick the perfect tiara for her wedding.

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You have until Thursday before Google gets all up in your stuff

Child Saluting American FlagAnyone using any sort of Google product has now had ample opportunity to not read the terms of its new “unified privacy policy,” which will align the various privacy policies of its many different services (searches, YouTube, Gmail, secretly searching for LOLcats saying dirty words, etc.)

As of March 1, 2012, the new policy will go into effect, and data collected from your search history will become available to other Google services, for marketing purposes (h/t ABA Journal).

You ought to know what that means: those late-night searches for pictures of tree sloths eating bananas will become part of the algorithm used to target advertisements at you. Some people may not want that.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, who is fast becoming one of the most relevant advocacy groups in the world (thanks, SOPA!) has a step-by-step guide to removing your entire Google search history ahead of the big day.

I tried doing it, and Google is telling me that I do not even have have “Web History” turned on. I’m not sure how that could be, since I tend to sign up for new internet and social media services without even thinking about it, but maybe this means all my secrets are safe…

Of course, Google will record all of your searches no matter what, but you can opt not to have your history get shared for marketing purposes. Your search history will always be available to law enforcement, of course.

Just thought you should know about this.

Photo credit: Child Saluting American Flag by JefferyTurner, on Flickr.

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A (Very) Few Thoughts on Positive Rights

Internet access fundraisingI’m not about to go into some long-winded thesis on legal theory, but I have always found the question of “positive” versus “negative” rights very interesting. Put very simply, negative rights involve the right of freedom from interference in something, e.g. freedom of speech or religion, which really means the right to speak or practice without undue government interference. Positive rights are a tougher nut to crack. These are entitlements to some service, and they are not as easily asserted or enforced.

This is also not to be confused with legal positivism, which is a different concept that you should read about on your own.

Frank Pasquale has a post at Concurring Opinions where he addresses theories of positive rights as they pertain to health care and internet access. Interesting stuff around which I am still trying to wrap my head.

Photo credit: Internet access fundraising by HowardLake, on Flickr.

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Grandpa lawyer doesn’t understand your newfangled technoggoly

I wrote the headline to this post on August 17, 2011, and I saved a draft that only consisted of four URL’s. Honestly, I have no idea exactly where I was going to go with this, but the headline was too, uh, weird not to post. Rather than try to piece together exactly what sort of thesis I was going after almost four months ago, I’ll just link to the articles that so inspired me.

Obviously it was something about older lawyers eschewing newfangled technology.

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see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

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Oh PETA, PETA, PETA. What are we going to do with you???

Today is a great day for my blog. A day many bloggers can only dream of.

Today I get to write about porn.

Most bloggers wait in vain for some legitimate reason to blog about porn. Well, bloggers who aren’t named Marc Randazza or Michael Fattorosi, anyway. This week, I found such a legitimate reason. (I should probably mention the NSFW status of this post. Proceed with caution.)

But first, I have to talk about PETA.

I have conflicted views on PETA. On the plus side, they have done some excellent work investigating cases of animal cruelty.

On the minus side, they have a very bad track record on many issues of animal rescue.

  • This rather snarky infographic (h/t BigMikeInAustin) shows some stats on their rescue efforts and the activities of their spokespeople.
  • PETA advocated for Michael Vick’s dogs to be put down.

    Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals cautioned that people may seek to adopt the dogs for the wrong reasons, such as boasting of having a “Michael Vick dog” or returning the animals to the dogfighting pits.

    “In most cases, pit bulls seized from dogfighting rings are euthanized, and as sad as that is to all of us, it may be the best thing to do for everyone concerned,” PETA spokesman Dan Shannon said.

    Note that the concern is over what may happen to the dogs if they live. Also note that nearly all of the dogs were rehabilitated and successfully placed in adoptive homes.

  • PETA has not been much of a friend to pit bulls at all. This puts them at odds with me.
  • A PETA “sheltering adviser” offered a remarkably weak, alternative-solution-free criticism of Austin’s no-kill policies recently.

They also make widespread use of nudity in their ad campaigns and protests. I am torn as to whether this goes in the “plus” or “minus” side, as I feel it distracts attention from the important issue but at the same time features naked people.

From zimbio.com. Fair use applies.  From connect.in.com. Fair use applies.

From zimbio.com. Fair use applies.

This brings me to the point of this post, where things get good: PETA plans to launch a porn site using the “.xxx” domain.

No, really.

I’m serious. And it sounds delightful:

The bizarre site will aim to raise awareness of veganism by offering pornographic material alongside graphic footage of animal mistreatment.

The porn site will illustrate the horror of life for animals on factory farms, will pictures and video shot undercover by the group’s hidden camera investigations.

Spokesman Lindsay Rajt told the Huffington Post: ‘It will have enough adult content to qualify for the XXX domain site but also some other graphic images of animals that viewers may not expect to see.‘We live in a 24 hour news cycle world and we learn the racy things we do are sometimes the most effective way that we can reach particular individuals.

She added: ‘We really want to grab people’s attention, get them talking and to question the status quo and ultimately take action, because the best way we can help the greatest number of animals is simply by not eating them.’

“Adult content” combined with “graphic images of animals”??? Does PETA, ummmm, know what porn is for??? I mean really, how often do you want to see “graphic images of animals”? Probably not very often. Now think of the absolute last time you would want to see that sort of “graphic” image. You probably thought of a time when you were eating. Now think of what might come in second. You see where I’m going with this.

I fail to see how this could succeed either as effective advocacy or as pornography. There is such a thing as too much controversy. People who aren’t already repulsed by PETA’s antics might finally be repulsed. People looking for new adult entertainment might be in for a rude surprise. Aside from joke fodder, I don’t see much good coming from this.

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