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Okay so this article is bumping up against the hysteria that I'd categorize as "semi-technology literate" yet makes some good points. Almost like talking about how dangerous it is to walk through a minefield and then stepping on one. There's a valid point in there somewhere.

Copyright reform is one of my favorite subjects, and for a multitude of reasons. Should the prosecution be able to dump a case straight up without recourse because the "Stingray" gathering tool is too lovely to submit to review? Nope. Should breathalyzer code be held from review just because it's a product made by somebody? Nope. Should FOIA be stonewalled or pay-walled and inhibit the Constitutional freedom of the press? Nope!

Innocent until proven guilty is a very, very important premise for the US legal system. It's backed up by both the Fourth and First amendments to the Constitution. Any justification to put them aside for "War on ____" might seem reasonable on the surface, until taking a closer look at multiple murder evidence that comes from within the borders more often than on a laptop of a Citizen who just so happens to be coming back from a foreign country and gets worked for passwords under duress or has to forfeit hardware without recourse.

I dunno, maybe I sound like some kind of off-the-rocker dude by thinking about such things, but I love my country, I'm willing to sit down and think about this kind of stuff. It doesn't have to be extreme. Taking the small steps of talking with one another about what we really value is important in my opinion.




So... if i build and sell a "breathalyzer" to your local pd that simply randomly selects a number between .08 and .16, you'd be ok with that? Pretty much every other element of the system is biased toward conviction. Police have quotas. Prosecutors need convictions. Private prisons get more money for more convicts. It would be easy to dodge questions for a long, long time. Why would police administer the test to a sober person? In this one weird example a sober person registered as drunk. oh well, its still good for 99.9% of other cases.

The right to confront your accuser is there for a reason. More and more, software is the accuser. We all, at HN, struggle to make our code correct. Step back, think a second, how do you QA a breathalyzer? How do you deal with variations in sensor packages? Yes, they probably do more good than harm, but are they "accurate"? how do you know that?


I think you guys agree:

> Should breathalyzer code be held from review just because it's a product made by somebody? Nope.


Breathalyzers are known to be wildly inaccurate, to such an extent that in some jurisdictions DUI is just defined in terms of a breathalyzer result because they know it doesn't bear a reliable relationship to the actual BAC.


But is it accurate enough to say "you're drunk driving"? IIRC at least on this side of the pond, if you're caught you either get fined, or you're taken to the station for a more accurate breath test or a blood test.


In the US, you have the right to request a blood test, but the blood test is not required and the breathalyzer is considered sufficient evidence (again, since the offense is defined in terms of the breathalyzer).


Scams like this absolutely do happen, with potentially deadly consequences.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29459896


The presumption of innocence comes from English common law, not the Constitution; it in fact appears nowhere in the Constitution, let alone in the 1st or 4th Amendment.


Okay, so I've conflated the direct inspiration for the framing of the Constitution with what it actually says, and tossed in a couple Amendments that are relevant practically speaking, and yet you still understood the jist of what I was saying. Potatoe.


Not really. We're probably closer than we are far apart, but I think the distinction is important; for instance, we usually discuss the presumption of innocence in terms of "innocent until proven guilty" and then base our opinions off the modern (indeed, message-board) interpretation of the word "proof". Mathematical certainty was not an objective of the framers, or of their predecessors.

Which is relevant here, of course, because of the demand for access to source code to increase certainty.

But: you'd be right if you assumed the "1st and 4th Amendment" thing was what actually motivated me to comment. I'm a message board nerd too!


Okay, gotcha! Nicely done and a hat tip for getting the rough edges out of the way.


The constitution defines those rights granted to citizens from natural law that shall not be reduced by the govt. The constitution limits the government... citizens have #alltherights


Roman law even.




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