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In China you already have to apply for a website license (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICP_license). And most people do not care about it very much. I once made a site with a friend from China, and he applied for the ICP license, even though the server was in the US and there was not a single word in Chinese on the site. In my friend's opinion it was a natural thing to do for a law abiding citizen.

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China is a North American politician's wet dream.

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I wish there were good open source alternatives to Gmail, Facebook, Twitter etc. that you could just install on your own server. But as it is now leaving cloud entirely would require significant effort, time and knowledge to setup and when you do, you would still lose a great part of functionality provided by the cloud now.

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This idea is actually not as crazy as it may seem. Copyright lobby is usually just one step behind the Chinese policies of restricting access to the illegal content, with the only difference in definition of illegal. Chinese have developed such tool, [1], and were planning to install it on every new computer sold in China. But later scaled down it's use.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Dam_Youth_Escort

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Admirable, but regrettably, people boycotting Kindle or any other product because of the DRM are in the minority that is easy to ignore.

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In other news: RIAA Wants To Start Peeking Into Files You Store In The Cloud http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2570538

Considering those trends I would not want to store any unencrypted data in the cloud.

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Yes, those clouds are increasingly becoming "one stop shopping" for criminals, thugs and government.

Epsilon and Sony are just two, recent examples. The TJ Max incident a few years ago. Etc.

The "cloud" is useful, except there isn't actually "a" cloud, there are just individual businesses inviting you into their capacious silos. It's lock-in with more risk.

"The cloud" needs a lot more work before we can call it "the" cloud, and before we can call it safe.

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I would bet that once the cloud really takes off there will be providers that will charge a premium to offer a service that is more private and outside of the 'bad' jurisdictions

So instead of using a free ad sponsored storage point where you are what is being sold, you pay $50 a year for a storage point that is hosted offshore, is encrypted, etc.

The one problem that the cloud faces is that applications need to be decoupled from storage. ie. you should be able to have your documents with provider x, but use the word processor from providers y or z to access them. Each of the apps at the moment set up their own storage silo, there is no real 'my documents' or home directory for the cloud

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tarsnap to the rescue!

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I do not understand on what grounds the Chinese company that serves Chinese users is being sued in New York. The search results are censored because Chinese law requires doing so. What does it have to do with the US?

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I do not understand your confusion since those questions are clearly answered in the article.

- Chinese language searches on Baidu made from within the US are censored

- This is an infringement of the civil rights of the [edit: US-based] Chinese writers whose works are being sought out by US-based readers of Chinese

- Title VII forbids such abridgments of a person's civil rights

The bottom line is not that Baidu can't censor its results in accordance with the policies of the Chinese government, but that it can not conduct business within the US at the same time.

I'm not sure that the plaintiffs can win their case, but that's not really the point - even if they lose, it still shines a bright light on Baidu's censorious practices.

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I am not a layer, so I do not really understand what does the phrase "conducting business in the US" means. Does creating a website amounts to the "business in the US", since by the nature of the internet, websites in any country would normally be accessible in the US? Or does one need to have customers in the US? Or is it something else?

So I am wondering, how could they stop conducting business in the US? Should they just block the access from the US based IP? If they would do so, would that really be better then censorship?

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Essentially yes, they should be blocking US traffic, or at least not operating any servers in the US and not serving ads to anyone in the US. That would mean sticking to www.baidu.cn instead of registering www.baidu.com (with MarkMonitor.com, a US-based domain registration provider).

Would this be 'better' than censorship? A matter of opinion - I don't think it would be all that better and I am guessing you feel the same. But if you're using a US-style .com address, registering with a US domain registry, and serving ads to US visitors, then you're doing business in the US for legal purposes, and you become subject to US laws about how you do business - especially the laws that say you can't discriminate against people or infringe upon their civil rights. The concept in the US is that if you want to enjoy the freedoms and legal protections that go with being American, then you have to offer your services to others on the same basis that you expect to be served. You can't turn people away or give them inferior service just because you disapprove of them in some way such as not liking their gender, ethnicity, or national origin.

So if you're offering Chinese-language web search, in the US, and you're filtering the results in a way that limits the rights of US citizens/residents, then you're effectively discriminating against US residents who originally come from China. You can stop discriminating, or you can get out of the US market, but in the meantime you're liable to get sued. As I said, I really don't know if this is a viable legal argument or not, but winning the case is secondary to keeping the issue in the news.

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Furthermore, what does this have to do with the first amendment?

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It looks like they do not offer any good way to deal with forgery. The card and the hologram are not terribly hard to produce. Also unlike the usual bills they would not have the strong legal protection from counterfeiting.

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Author's uncritical fascination with those scammers makes the article quite annoying to read. Leaving ethical issues aside, spamming does not seem to be technically challenging. Especially if you live in a country where the law enforcement is too weak to prosecute cybercrimes.

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What was described was definitely not spamming. It might start off that way to find a mark, but afterwards there's a lot of challenges (for example the story at the end, of the scammers posing as women and making men fall in love with them).

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So you're looking for partisan reporting that more closely follows your own opinion? There is two sides to a lot of stuff and its certainly interesting to hear this side of the story.

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It feels ridiculous that I can easily send any pdf or jpeg files to Canada or nearly any place connected to the Internet, and no one would interfere. But somehow the exact same pictures printed or drawn on paper are subject to the border inspections and potential seizure.

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For some countries those electronic files are being treated to a 'border inspection' also... It may seem like Tin Foil Hattery... But I remain unconvinced that this doesn't happen for some / a lot / most countries...

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