Hidden Danger

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by jpanhalt, Oct 5, 2009.

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  1. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    I just became aware of this new regulation in the USA:

    Anyone who has been awake for more than a few years knows that such seemingly "good" ideas can become very twisted in a bureaucracy. Let's say, for example, that one of us recommends a National Semiconductor product. Will you need to reveal that 3 years ago you received a free sample IC from it or face an $11,000 fine?

    Many will say that is over reaction, and so it may be today, but what about in 10 years from now? I won't continue with boring examples, but there are plenty to illustrate unintended consequences of such seemingly benign regulation.

    Just for your thoughts.

    John
     
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

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    It isn't the degree of offense, it's the absurd punishment that may come from it that is worrisome. The regulatory bodies know they can't catch more than a tiny fraction of offenders, so they tend to go with hugely disproportionate punishments.

    I seem to recall some kid who got convicted to sharing copyrighted songs. The jury (amazing bunch of people) brought in a guilty verdict, and then a fine of $22,000.00/song. He only got convicted of illegally sharing 5 - 6 songs, but is ruined for years to come.

    If the FTC decides to rule by horrifying example as well, we may all have to be very careful about anything said that could in any way be construed as a "product review".
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  3. ELECTRONERD

    Senior Member

    May 26, 2009
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    I find that much money is a bit too much...if it was a kid they should put him in a work camp for a couple months. Nothing too extreme, they could have kids like that cleaning trash around the city or some other community service. Hopefully they'll learn the value of money. Even men could do it too. Just a thought.
     
  4. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Well two questions that come into my mind are: firstly, do we have a definition for what is a "blogger" or "advertiser"? By posting on here do I become an advertiser or does an advertiser have to make profit; by posting on here do I become a blogger or do I have to use a dedicated blogging service. Whilst seemingly logical as a description, what are the boundaries. And secondly, just how easy would it be to prove the levels of losses attributed to the actions of a blogger or advertiser? Contractual losses are complex but quantifyable because of the detail and consistency of the contract document, but the connection in this case is an "effect" caused by blogger or advertiser which indirectly acts on the entity to which they are blogging or advertising about.

    Dave
     
  5. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

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    Hi Dave,

    I am not too concerned about the aspect of a complainant proving losses from an abuse. That is a civil matter, and its remedy probably existed even before this new FTC regulation.

    My concern is the intrusion of government. This change was brought about by one of the Czars close to President Obama, Susan Crawford. Informally, she is called the Internet Czar. She has close ties to ACORN and other Marxist groups.

    Clearly this policy may be applied to suppress discussion. All the government agency needs to do is claim a non-disclosed conflict of interest by an entity (e.g., person) who makes a claim. It can then assess the penalty per instance, if the government finds any misrepresentation. In fact, even if there is no misrepresentation, failure to disclose the conflict may subject one to the penalty. (That question is unresolved at present with respect to this FTC rule, but it is a common standard applied in academics and is used by granting agencies and healthcare regulators in the US.)

    As an example of what might happen, consider the current debate about healthcare reform in the US. Physicians and other providers might be considered to have a de facto conflict of interest in opposing the legislation. Those opponents have already been accused by the administration of lying and misrepresentation. Will this regulation be used silence such opposition for fear of fines? Administrative law is quite different from criminal law in the US. You can be fined simply by an administrator. To challenge the fine and get a trial on its merits is several expensive steps and many years away.

    As for what defines a blog vs. a forum, I think that line is so thin as to be irrelevant.

    On the good news side, I expect immediate impact on AAC is going to be minimal, if any.

    John
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  6. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    I take your remarks as insulting and offensive. The moderators need to apply a consistent standard when it comes to political commentary. Just because you choose to call an apple an orange does not in fact make it an orange. I think being banned for a couple of days would be the condign punishment.
     
  7. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

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    I cannot see how my remarks can in the most extreme be considered as directed at you.

    Of course, there is a view that anyone who disagrees with the current administration is a terrorist risk. I reject that concept out of hand. It is naive, foolish, and dangerous. My characterization of the Internet Czar was based on facts and opinions reported by FoxNews and its commentators. It is factually accurate.

    John
     
  8. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Gentlemen - this matter is going to be closely monitored. Asserting strong opinion like -
    is hardly an objective opinion, especially when the source is Fox News.

    That source is considerably less than objective, despite the "fair and balanced" statement made by the news organization. To continue in this vein will certainly become politically charged. To quote your own words -
     
  9. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

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    Oops. I guess we should stick to CBS and the NYT, which have ignored any scandal related to this President and ACORN.

    Please correct my assumption, if it is incorrect. The rules require that we refrain from personal attacks on other members, not that we avoid any political position. FoxNews and its commentators -- even Ann Coulter -- are hardly a fringe group. Approximately 48% of Americans agreed with the political position of FoxNews in the last election.

    I hope it is correct to assume that your criticism of FoxNews is a personal one and does not resprsent the position of AAC and its advertisers/sponsors.

    John
     
  10. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

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    To assert that Fox is not political is disingenuous.

    Where do you find a criticism of Fox, though? I would characterize it as biased to the political right. Is that critical? Please explain how that might be.

    The statement -
    is loaded with assumptions, in that those opinions are unbiased by politics, or that they might be legitimately viewed as intended to be deliberately provocative.

    Just as an extremely left-leaning screed might cause a reaction, so does one biased to the right. Pushing provocative statement into the forums will certainly cause reactions. To say that X percentage of Americans agrees with the political position should hint that another percentage might sharply disagree.
     
  11. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    While I am not a lover of Fox news (I do watch it, and grit my teeth), I am a firm believer in being suspicious of government, any government. Many of the Untied States founding fathers shared this suspicion, which is why we have the Bill of Rights. If Jefferson had had his way, there would have also been a Bill of Wrongs, things the government must not / can not do. Pity he didn't get his way.

    Even with clear and relatively unambiguous language people are always trying to reinterpret the Bill of Rights so as to weaken them.

    It is possible to support your government but not trust it. I've always believed true patriots always question their government, blind obedience is a clear path to tyranny.
     
  12. StayatHomeElectronics

    Well-Known Member

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    Would we also agree then that many of the other national news organizations are biased to the left?
     
  13. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

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    I didn't assert that. You criticized it as being politically slanted, but presented no alternative. We are all victims of politicization of the news media. Realizing that is the first step to reading more broadly. Yes, I do read/listen to CBS, NBC (usually), ABC, and our local PBS station (very often too).

    What do you offer as an unbiased news source?

    YES, certainly in the structure of your statement(s) as follows:
    Of course, it is obvious that 52% may disagree. Obama got elected, but it was not a landslide based on the popular vote. The sharpness of the disagreement is not obvious. But, my point was that 48% is not a fringe element, as you seemed to imply by discounting anything reported by FoxNews. FoxNews is mainstream. It is not more biased to the right than CBS, NYT, ABC, or NBC are biased to the left. Would you prefer me to cite the National Review instead?

    I do hope your comments in this discussion are as an individual, not as a moderator. Please make it clear whether that is the case.

    One thing that does concern me was the individual's response asking that I be banned for stating a fact/opinion with which he disagreed. That in itself is a personal attack to which you have not responded as a moderator.

    John
     
  14. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Is there a reason this thread is taking an unnecessary tangent? It seems the discussion has moved from the content to the motive of the regulation, and is now seemingly moving onto matters not even related tothe OP.

    John, although moderators have responsibilities under the forum rules and execute the rule on behalf of the site admin, they are also entitled to engage in discussion and have an opinion like anyone else. They are forum members too. If something is to be said in an official capacity you will made fully aware of that and you can clarify that point with either Rob or myself.

    As for the "personal attack", all we ask is that people show respect to one another, and the express opinions of FMs on these matters have no influence on the action taken. The fact of the matter is in this instance the discussion, currently predicated on opinions of one form or another, is being allowed to flow in order to resolve itself rather than a mod picking a side and taking direct action. If we didn't follow that protocol in OT we would moderating everything, which is both unnecessary and undesirable for both mods and FMs.

    If anyone has an issue with conduct on the forums, raise it over PM with a mod or myself where we/I will work a solution.

    Dave
     
  15. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

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    I agree completely with that and with the rest of your message.

    Let's get back to my concern over how this new and unprecedented rule may affect legitimate discussion, particularly with respect to the pernicious risk of being fined a large amount of money for what should be protected free speech.

    John
     
  16. cumesoftware

    Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
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    Does it mean that, by saying that the LM1036 is a bit noisy, I can be fined? I'm just expressing my personal opinion based on my experience, but can my opinion be considered a review? And are reviews supposed to be based on facts, even if they are negative?

    I thing this law is clearly nazi and goes against free speech. The large corporations that easily endorse such law should be reminded that they exist thanks to people in the first place. This shameful law will help the proliferation of miracle products that don't work, or at least they don't work as seen on TV.

    P.S.: I beg my pardon to the mods of this board if my words are strong, but they are not politically biased in the sense of going against one party or the other.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  17. Wendy

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    Actually, I think it is the opposite, you say what a wonderful device it is, but you recieved free samples, and someone disagrees with you about the device. That's my take on it. Basically it is meant to prevent coflict of interest, but they are confusing bloggers with professionals.
     
  18. StayatHomeElectronics

    Well-Known Member

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  19. Wendy

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  20. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    I posted somewhere that c.b.radio operator's had been jailed for foul
    langage a few years back,show how things can happen to people that
    happen to be in wrong decade.
     
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