“And we should trust you THIS time why again?”
In their short-sighted eagerness to get data that they apparently felt was ‘owed’ to them it seems the UK parliament might have just shot it’s foot with regards to future cases involving the company.
By going after a third party because they were too toothless and/or gutless to challenge Facebook directly, followed by blatantly flaunting the fact that the documents in question are under seal in the US Facebook can argue that handing over any information to parliament risks having it spread elsewhere, as parliament clearly can’t be trusted to show restraint or consider any legal or privacy issues involved in said information.
Not only do they come out looking all sorts of thuggish, but if they thought Facebook was stonewalling/ignoring them before they pulled this stunt I suspect they are not going to be happy with the stance Facebook is likely to take after it.
In second place, we’ve got a comment on our post about the FBI demanding the identities of thousands of YouTube users to go after one bombing suspect, where one commenter suggested the government had good reason and James Burkhardt noted how that was ridiculous:
Actually, no. The governemnt does not have a “legitimate cause for a wide dragnet”. Ignoring for the moment that the constitution bars general warrants of this sort, Mike notes, specifically, that the police have information that would allow them to easily narrow search parameters. Device IDs, IP addresses, and other information could have been included as a means to narrow the scope of the request. So in this case they should have a far smaller dragnet, and maybe expand the net after they process these results.
Then of course outside the specifics of this case, they do not have a legitimate reason to make a wide dragnet. General warrants are prohibited by the constitution, and I expect once this warrant moves past a rubber stamp magistrate into an adversarial process, it will be squashed.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ve got a pair of responses to perennial complaints (from a small number of parties) about our comment flagging system. First it’s an anonymous response to the idea that it somehow doesn’t count as “voting” since there are no upvotes to counter downvotes:
So when I vote for my Senator, it doesn’t count as “voting” because I can’t downvote the opposition? Fascinating argument.
And before you claim that’s somehow different because “upvote vs downvote,” it’s not. Most voting systems work by presuming a “default” state, and then accumulating votes until the threshold of the “special” state is reached. In Senate races, the default state is “not being Senator,” but if you accumulate enough votes you reach the special state of “Senator”. In Techdirt, the default state is “visible comment,” but if you accumulate enough votes then you can reach the special state of “hidden comment.”
Next, it’s a response from Gwiz to the complaint that “Techdirt’s notion of free speech is to protect yourselves from what don’t want to see”:
That is Free Speech, you dolt.
You’re free to say what you want (as long as it’s actually protected speech) and I’m free to ignore you.
Over on the funny side, we’ve got a double winner for the first time in a while: Gary. In first place, it’s his response to a discussion on last week’s comments post about whether markdown formatting for comments should be turned on by default:
I almost _never_ forget to check the markdown box!
(When we first rolled out markdown, it seemed like turning it on might just trip people up — but now maybe it’s time to do so, and we’ll consider it!)
In second place, it’s a jab at our Australian friends in response to their challenges acquiring legal media at a decent price, if at all:
TAC your comments fail to take into account the immense difficulty of translating American movies into Australian, which easily explains the delay and added expense of releases down under.
For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous commenter who had an understandably defeatist response to the idea that you should fight your insurance company:
Good luck with that. Works well with any wild bears you may encounter also.
And finally, another anonymous commenter offered up a take on the strained, terminology-misinterpreting logic that folks use to declare social media companies the “public square” and subject to the first amendment:
Twitter is represented by a bird. One of the most famous birds is the Albratross. The Albatross is known in myth to be important to sailers. Who is in charge of sailers? ADMIRALS. Thus Twitter is beholden to admiralty court and needs to listen to Doug’s superior arguments.
That’s all for this week, folks!