#1 By: Cory Doctorow, January 10th, 2014 18:00
#2 By: newliminted, January 10th, 2014 18:17
World corporatocracy. Welcome.
Fuck this stupid shit.
#3 By: lavardera, January 10th, 2014 18:22
huh? did you just get a fawkes mask in the mail?
#4 By: fuzzyfuzzyfungus, January 10th, 2014 18:48
As long as you don't try to live there or anything (not that you'd consider it, given the local property prices) the Corporation of The City of London actually does 'welcoming' fairly well.
Their actual mission and activities tend toward 'malignant neoliberal pressure group so toxic you can barely believe they are real'; but they do a 'and here is Ye Olde Historik London Citie, wherein may be seen colourful artefacts and reconstructions from the (implicitly past) time when the city enjoyed a unique set of traditional feudal privileges' thing for the tourists, presumably partially because it pays, albeit vastly less than their primary work, and partially because it's perfect for obfuscating the fact that they are, still, one of Britain's wacky offshore tax havens, just with a bunch of land wrapped around it.
#5 By: AlexG55, January 10th, 2014 19:37
Even the corporate vote makes some weird sense. The City has 7,000 residents but 300,000 people work there, and it's argued that the people who work there but don't live there should have their interests represented to local government. Also, the vote applies to any company- so while big banks get corporate votes, so do sandwich shops and newsstands.
The assignment of corporate votes is non-linear, so bigger companies are less represented- it's basically one vote per five employees up to 50, and then one per 50.
#6 By: heckblazer, January 10th, 2014 20:22
It makes even more sense when you realize that the practice more or less dates back to William the Conqueror. In the Middle Ages letting anyone vote was pretty darn progressive. Another medieval remnant in The City are the (now ceremonial) trade guilds called livery companies. Which these days includes the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists. Really.
#7 By: Melted_Crayons, January 10th, 2014 21:06
"I am the KING OF THE WORLD!", say they.
And just like that, they are.
#8 By: He who must not be named, January 10th, 2014 22:42
Due process must be upheld because people are innocent until proven guilty.
It would set a bad precedent to allow arbitrary police seizure of assets without a court involvement.
… but I wonder if BoingBoing will post a follow-up should the City of London Police next obtain a court order to enforce the seizure?
There's no link to the affected websites or domain names that might allow us to form an opinion on whether the Police actions were plausibly reasonable - BoingBoing doesn't need to conduct balanced reporting, but it might be interesting to know whether the Police actions were outrageous, or whether the story is about the Police not following the correct procedure when acting against people for whom there's prima facie evidence of wrongdoing.
If the Police seized a totally arbitrary domain and redirected it to a Hollywood approved website, the Police would be liable to be sued themselves. Will the (unnamed) people affected here sue the Police, or do they want to keep the issue out of the courts in case it goes against them?
I don't necessarily support movie piracy, but I guess it's good news that we follow due process, because it will prevent inconvenient sites being silenced via the same mechanism in future, even if the people targeted by the City of London Police in this instance were clearly as guilty as sin.
#9 By: matthjones, January 11th, 2014 02:46
The sites are on the first page of the National Arbitration Forum document embedded on the techdirt article.
#10 By: Kimmoth, January 11th, 2014 03:40
just a bunch of random jerks barking orders that no one has to obey
As an anarchist, I see that whenever I look at pretty much any 'legitimate' authority.
#11 By: Paul Sampson, January 11th, 2014 05:35
That's the nice thing about the expression "a bunch of [uncomplimentary-adjective] jerks"..
It may be followed by any amount of innocuous material - of no immediate concern to said jerks or their heavy-handed supporters - but Douglas Adams has forever sealed their fate with his particular choice of adjective.
I believe, like the original 'mindless', the adjective must be a trocheé though, otherwise it might not trigger the association.
#12 By: Alice Weir, January 11th, 2014 06:04
William the C had a crazy, crazy legacy that way. I read quite a lot on him, as one of the descendants (of which there are doubtless thousands, by now). He was very, very good at making sure that his own family and best supporters got theirs while the getting was good. (Which helps explain his enormous success, I suppose.)
Anyway, I remember one of that family became Mayor of London, with the sense that it was quite a...pompous position to hold. Not your local Better Business Bureau, for sure!
So very different than the US! I mean, we have a short history of robber barons and rebellion leaders. And I've seen where they did much the same in terms of maintaining power within those families. But typically, it's more industry-specific, like 'Big Tobacco'. No place does business have that kind of centralized power on the ground. - let alone its own police force! But, I wonder how many other freaky business stunts they may have pulled off that we don't know about?
#13 By: heckblazer, January 11th, 2014 07:16
Actually there are corporate-run police forces in the US that have full peace-officer status. The Union Pacific Police Department would be one example. I can also think of one local government that is fully under corporate control, albeit just a single company. That would be the Reedy Creek Development District, better known as Disney World. The land owners in the jurisdiction elect the Board of Supervisors, so no surprise that all five are Disney executives.
#14 By: He who must not be named, January 11th, 2014 09:59
That's true: and I support the right of the owners of torrentpond.com (Domiciled in the Dominican Republic) to receive due process from the City of London Police!
On a more interesting note, does anyone recognise the font they use?
#15 By: Deb, January 11th, 2014 12:10
The typeface is called Albertus.
#16 By: Alice Weir, January 11th, 2014 12:48
Interesting. I wasn't aware of either of those.
#17 By: Bill Ellson, January 11th, 2014 14:31
Local Government in Greater London is provided by 32 boroughs and the City of London Corporation (The 32 boroughs are statutory corporations created by the London Government Act 1963). The Common Council of the City of London is elected by some 22,213 individuals, none of whom have more than one vote. 6,632 of the voters are residents and 15,581 are either appointees of businesses (or institutions such as churches, charities and educational establishments) or they are sole traders or members of partnerships. The allocation of business voters is skewed towards small and medium sized businesses, organisations with a workforce size of 9 or less can nominate 1 voter; those with up to 50 staff can nominate 1 voter for every 5 staff; those with more than 50 can appoint 10 voters plus an additional voter for every additional 50 members of staff. All voting is by secret ballot in the normal way.
The Common Council is the police authority for the City of London, but the City of London Police are subject to the same laws and regulations as any other territorial police force in England.
The City of London Police did not give "themselves the power to seize domains", but (as I understand it) they did send out some somewhat officious letters to domain registrars.
The ancient Latin phrase translates as 'let the buyer beware' i.e. use your common sense before parting with your money - check out what sort of people you are dealing with and what their track record is etc. If you are so daft as to pay money to a domain registrar who rolls over in the face of one officious letter then you chose the wrong registrar
#18 By: Bill Ellson, January 11th, 2014 14:35
Firstly the "Corporation of The City of London" is a local council in Canada and nothing to do with the City of London referred to in the article. Secondly City of London residents and businesses pay the same taxes as the rest of the UK.
#19 By: Jhertzli, January 11th, 2014 19:55
Think of this as a government run by stakeholders.
#20 By: He who must not be named, January 11th, 2014 23:22
The City of London has about 7000 permanent residents and a daily workforce of 300,000 who commute into the city to work but live outside it. I can see why those 300,000 people who spend 8 hours a day in the city might want some representation. If they spend half their waking life in the city they should have some voice.
I don't see understand the companies should have block votes weighted by their number of employees - but given that's what happens, the question becomes: how can we game the system?
How does a company audit the number of it's employees? If a large company is allowed 10 voters + 1 vote for every 50 employees, what stops a company registering it's business address within the City of London and issuing peppercorn wages or zero hour contracts to a million employees who they then claim are telecommuters? That one company would gain the majority of the votes by default, and could seize control of all votes held by the City of London Corporation. Couple that with an insider on the City of London Corporation council, who could determine items sent to ballot (e.g. levy a 10% income tax or ground rent of £1M/acre on all businesses with an income over £100M), and we'd see if it was still a good idea.
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