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> an Australian-themed maker of networking equipment

"We build networks and get in fights"


There's literally no way to break down that idea without turning it into some kind of negation of rights.

For you to ever be 'free' from others doing [thing Z], everyone (you, them, everyone else) would have to be precluded from doing anything that might lead to [thing Z] - and suddenly no one can do [thing A], [thing B], [thing C]...

Not only that, but now all it takes is for someone to make a shaky argument for some action potentially leading to [thing Z], and suddenly you or anyone else can be accused of committing that action in pursuit of committing [thing Z], and/or get locked up because of it.

I'm as averse to getting blown up as the next guy, but that doesn't stop me from recognizing a loosely-defined slippery slope when I see one.

It'd be nice to see a world in which it's very rare/difficult for anyone to do certain things - but let's not pretend we can create a world completely 'free' of anything without sacrificing most of our inalienable rights.


> The reason techies find solutions like these unpalatable is because there is no technical way to provide these capabilities without simultaneously weakening protections against attacks from other entities (criminals, other governments, etc).

Right, the golden key problem.

> Also, while you, personally, may think it's okay to buy and sell cocaine over the internet, many of the other people signing/writing this social contract would disagree.

'Social contracts' rarely refers to specific stances on policies/issues. He was likely using it to refer to the underlying implicit agreement the term usually refers to (the agreement to live by laws, etc) as opposed to any actual document you might be thinking of (like a constitution or something).

From that standpoint, I agree with him - there are some issues which will only ever be 'resolved' by reconsidering the underlying stance we take on what our societies can or can't do, and revising the underlying social contract the societies we choose to live in are built upon.


I agree with the train of thought, but jhallenworld has a point - there's no way to trust the actors sworn-in to uphold such a contract are actually following the contract - nor is there any accountability for such.

I believe you're on the right track, but the underlying problem of corruption - at any time, any person trusted to use their position of power as they're "supposed to" instead of skirting their limitations or trying to find ways around them - still exists in the system you described.

- What happens when the authority figure decides that actual terrorist threats aren't the only things they should pursue with their unilateral control?

- What happens if they take that heroin-snorting secret gay tryst you were in out of context, and blackmail you with it (as happened with the information about intel agencies allegedly knowing about that high level CP ring Britain was involved with)?

Once again, I'm happy to see someone besides myself think in terms of how future social contracts should be modified to address the problems our current ones don't; but I think the problem of corruption underlies any potential social contract solution - because at the end of the day, no matter how many rules and limitations you write up, the people who spend their day-to-day living within the contractual system you've created will find (or create) weaknesses to exploit in that system.

Anonymous redundancy (multiple people needed to access some data; they don't know who the others are) or internal watchdogs (people who don't have control over the system, but can see how others who do are using their control; watchdogs are also not known so as to limit bribery potential) or something would need to exist as a sort of 'immune system' against the evolution of corruption within the contract.


The mini-saga embedded in the presentation was pretty funny

> Concluding Remarks >  Off probation at the end of this semester!


I got put on probation for redirecting my ~/.bash_history to /dev/null and removing my `finger` information with `chfn`. Universities can be pretty ridiculous with their disciplinary actions.


Why... why would redirecting your .bash_history to /dev/null be a punishable offense? I assume it's so they could check for evildoing on your part, but that seems like a ridiculously idiotic way of doing it.


I remember once briefly thinking how fun it'd be to do something like this, before realizing with the spam filters the way they are it'd probably be the last thing I ever did on the site.

Neat proof-of-concept though


> Copyright infringement? It's just a few digits of π! They were always there!

You really have to admire that creativity


Incidentally, what do you think about dynamic favicons [1]? They're a fairly simple feature to implement, but a useful one. In your case, they'd let otherwise-useless favicons be status indicators themselves (which makes sense for anyone opening/refreshing a tab anyway) if they so chose.

Plus, it'd let your users promote their branding (upvote/downvote icons in that specific case) which is a win-win.

At minimum, some custom title text ('[user's main offering] is up'/'down' etc) would make a lot of sense, but I really think the favicons are simple enough (both to implement and to understand) and visible enough to be worth it too - it'd allow for at-a-glance uptime information [2].

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/ideasfortheadmins/comments/36w2s3/ha...

[2] http://i.imgur.com/Ifyn1PF.png


Wouldn't be the first, or worst, marketing whore-out to happen these days


Hear, hear.



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