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back to article Pirate island attracts more than 100 startup tenants

Over 100 international tech companies have registered their interest in the floating geek city, Blueseed, which will be launched next year in international waters outside of Silicon Valley. The visa-free, start-up friendly concept launched late last year aims to create a fully commercial technology incubator where global …

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Bronze badge
Big Brother

International waters?

Considering that the U.S. considers all oceans everywhere as being under U.S. control, the "geekship" presence just off the continental U.S. will probably be labeled a floating drug smuggling enterprise, and will be boarded by U.S. forces and taken under tow to a U.S. port for a thorough search. Confiscation of ship and impoundment of crew to follow.

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Terminator

Re: International waters?

But first they will use the new DARPA board-o-bots. After all, use of robots for various hunt/kill operations pretty much anywhere are "fully compatible with international law" as one hears from White House legal beagles.

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Silver badge

Re: International waters?

WATCH OUT FOR SUBMARINES!

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Thumb Down

Re: International waters?

You, sir, obviously underestimate the PR-awareness of the Blueseed founders :)

See http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=334547756584076&set=a.334547549917430.73988.220896591282527&type=1&theater

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Coat

Re: International waters?

Scew the politics. Just imagine the mother of all tidal waves bearing down!

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Bronze badge

Re: Tidal waves

Tidal waves (tsunamis) aren't much bother in international waters, usually. They only gain height when they enter inshore waters and the leading edge of the surge slows, causing the rushing water to pile up.

Whether the shelf outside the SF bay is shallow enough to be a tsunami risk, I don't know. However, while much of the shelf is in international waters, it's mostly still within the US contiguous zone, so the US would have some legal grounds to challenge them if residents do anything that isn't legal in the US, or if they consider it a tax-dodge...

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Paris Hilton

Re: International waters?

HEY YOU LIMEY BRITISH MORON IF IT WASNT FOR THE USA PATROLLING THE OCEANS AND SEEZING DRUG SHIPS YOUR KIDS MIGHT BE SMOKING MARIHUANA IN SCHOOL RIGHT NOW

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FAIL

Re: International waters?

I don't think we've had galley slaves since around the mid-1700's (Henry IV of France).

Great to see them make a comeback!

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Bronze badge

Re: International waters?

> YOUR KIDS MIGHT BE SMOKING MARIHUANA IN SCHOOL RIGHT NOW

Nonsense. You posted at 17:47 GMT. School's out for the day.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: International waters?

on a bank holiday?

though it is a good thing that the sceptics have effective patrols and can stop all that home grown weed from crossing the Atlantic to blighty.

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Thumb Up

Re: International waters?

@Big Dumb Guy 555

You certainly picked the right moniker to match your intellect sir.

Well done!

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Trollface

Re: "LIMEY BRITISH MORON"? I did think about gently pointing out that that..........

..................is an unfortunate example of tautology. However, upon examining the content of your post and taking into account your use of caps lock I am forced to conclude that you probably have never heard of the word and wouldn't understand if you had.

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Pint

Re: International waters?

> HEY YOU LIMEY

Brilliant use of irony and sarcasm befitting of a posting to El Reg. I salute you sir!

Have a warm beer on me. Caution: it may contain alcohol and flavour.

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Joke

Re: International waters?

> > YOUR KIDS MIGHT BE SMOKING MARIHUANA IN SCHOOL RIGHT NOW

> Nonsense. You posted at 17:47 GMT. School's out for the day.

Also, everyone knows you don't start smoking until 4:20.

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Happy

Re: tautology

He should be grateful you didn't say 'pleonasm'...

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Re: International waters? Dumb Guy 555

I'm calling troll.

Yey! Way to troll!

You gotta troll with it...

Troll with the punches.

Rock and troll dude.

A trolling stone gathers no moss.

Trolling on the river.

...and so forth.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: International waters?

Marijuana not bad m'kay?

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Bronze badge

Re: International waters?

So true, sir, and as American schoolchildren are happily in the same drug-free situation, a big thank you to the US Navy, who save us from evil drugs, terrorists, foreign wars, and every bad thing. Mission accomplished!

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Happy

@Blitterbug Re:"Pleonasm". I have to confess that I...........

............had to look that one up! LOL.

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Holmes

Re: International waters?

"HEY YOU LIMEY..."

You've not spent much time in a British Secondary school recently, have you?

Pipe, because, well...

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Joke

Re: @Blitterbug Pleonasm". I have to confess that I...........

I think the use of "Pleonasm" was the use of more words than is necessary for clear expression.

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Meh

offshore

this is the future of offshoring/bestshoring

or is that thebestshoring, or noshoring..

or just another loophole.

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Meh

I don't see this lasting very long to be honest, too many governments will want control.

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Meh

Re: Too many govnmts will want control...

Me, I'd be worried more about getting boarded by 'tururists'. Seriously. For a change.

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Anonymous Coward

Step 1) Build floating barge, launch NOT under the flag of any country.

Step 2) Get people to pay you to live there permanently

Step 3) Get recognised by UN as an independent nation

Step 4) Cost the US taxman lots of money.

Step 5) Get labeled as a terrorist training ground and get blown out of the water by the USA,

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Anonymous Coward

Step 6) PROFIT!

Oh, wait...

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Pint

Waterworld

The basics:

MARITIME ZONES AND BOUNDARIES

"Each coastal State may claim a territorial sea that extends seaward up to 12 nautical miles (nm) from its baselines. The coastal State exercises sovereignty over its territorial sea, the air space above it, and the seabed and subsoil beneath it. Foreign flag ships enjoy the right of innocent passage while transiting the territorial sea....

Each coastal State may claim a contiguous zone adjacent to and beyond its territorial sea that extends seaward up to 24 nm from its baselines. In its contiguous zone, a coastal State may exercise the control necessary to prevent the infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea, and punish infringement of those laws and regulations committed within its territory or territorial sea.

In 1999, eleven years after President Reagan extended the U.S. territorial sea to 12 miles, President Clinton proclaimed contiguous zone extending from 12 to 24 nm offshore.

Each coastal State may claim an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) beyond and adjacent to its territorial sea that extends seaward up to 200 nm from its baselines... Within its EEZ, a coastal State has: (a) sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing natural resources, whether living or nonliving, of the seabed and subsoil and the superjacent waters and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, currents and winds; (b) jurisdiction as provided for in international law with regard to the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations, and structures, marine scientific research, and the protection and preservation of the marine environment, and (c) other rights and duties provided for under international law.

The U.S. claimed a 200 nm EEZ in 1983 (Presidential Proclamation No. 5030 of March 10, 1983..."

http://www.gc.noaa.gov/gcil_maritime.html

Come hell or high water, your floating Utopia needs to remail on station or anchored at least 25 nm out and quite probably more than 200 nm out

That makes it a very risky and very expensive proposition.

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Silver badge

Re: Waterworld

" ...up to 12 nautical miles (nm) from its baselines."

Is a 'baseline' the same as what most people think of as a 'coastline'; or do the lawyers have an obscure multi-page definition of the word 'baseline' somewhere?

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Go

Re: Waterworld

Unless I'm mistaken, this means from the lowest low-tide mark (sometimes slightly straightened out to prevent silly shapes.)

I love the idea of this sort of venture and I object to countries making sovereign claims over every damn bit of the world; there needs to be some room left for new settlements or some of the adventure is gone from life.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Waterworld

Very romantic, but if you read the history of SeaWorld, you'll see that such "adventurers" end up relying on the mainland for a great many things, especially food, water, and emergency search & rescue if anything goes wrong. The idea of being self-sufficient, at sea, outside the aegis of a state, is half-baked. If you're relying on the services of the mainland, avoiding obeying their laws on a technicality is an untenable position. It would be trivial for anyone - governmental or otherwise - to blockade these idiots to enforce compliance with pretty much anything they liked. Who's going to protect them? It's not like they have a navy.

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Re: Waterworld

Unlike Seaworld they are not trying to get around laws sponsored by large lobbying groups. They want to bypass the immigration laws that tech companies are lobbying to change anyway. I don't think they have any intention of being self sufficient either. They'll have no problem finding US citizens to transport supplies to them. I remember when this was first being discussed they expected residents to be able to get day trip visas, and of course they are close enough for company employees to travel to them when necessary. And it gets everyone in the same timezone.

I do have to wonder if they have given much thought to security though. If they are outside US territorial waters then the Coast Guard has no obligation, or authority, to provide protection for them from people who might want some of that tech that will necessarily be installed.

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Facepalm

Re: Waterworld

I love the idea of this sort of venture and I object to countries making sovereign claims over every damn bit of the world...

Absolutely. So much better if corporations do so, instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Waterworld

This is a disaster waiting to happen. I imagine the IT version of a sex trafficking ring, with no recourse for workers over pay and overtime disputes, the levying of unfair transport occupation charges, etc. Without the possibility of competition or regulation, they can charge whatever they want for food, water, clothing, and utilities. There will be no legal recourse, and no legal protections. It makes Foxconn sound like Disneyland. Not to mention, who is supposed to defend these tax dodgers from piracy or foul weather? To what port can you bring 3,000 illegal aliens in a literal storm?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Waterworld

tell that to the chinese.

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Pirate

Re: Waterworld (Not Expensive)

Why does it have to be expensive? Cruise ships operate out at sea most of their lifetime. All the venture caps need to do is price in the operating costs into the tennancy. It's till cheaper than the cost of the visa process. The one additional item of capex would be a seaplane to bring in tennants direct to the island. Even buying dedicated satellite transponders for comms is not that expensive these days.

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Re: Waterworld

Open seas. They can arm themselves if they wish.

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Re: Waterworld

Still better to have a claim based on profit than sovereignty if you ask me. Companies can be bought and sold, unfortunately countries can't as yet.

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The thing is.

We have foreign flagged ships running through our waters all the time.

Not all of them actually stop in the US, but continue on their way to Canada or Mexico, etc.

Kind of an odd way to do things, but I doubt most of the US would care as it is little different

than if someone were doing it in another country and use telephony or the like.

Frankly, most people won't care. The US is mainly concerned about drug smuggling,

diseases, and people coming here and using the public services without the ability

to pay the costs involved.

I'm sure that since they are in economic zone that eventually someone will want to collect

taxes and the like, but other than that...

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Silver badge

Re: The thing is.

The US is mainly concerned about drug smuggling, diseases, and people coming here and using the public services without the ability to pay the costs involved.

I suspect that the IP and security industries disagree with that and will be lobbying the government to consider their issues to be more important. My guess is that we'll see problems once the first little bit of friction develops with big media.

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Stop

Re: The thing is.

>>We have foreign flagged ships running through our waters all the time.

Not all of them actually stop in the US, but continue on their way to Canada or Mexico, etc.<<

This is the right of "innocent passage."

But the key words here are "innocent" and "passage." These are ships with a clearly defined destination. They are not permently stationed off-shore.

They are not trying to evade US labor laws.

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Big Brother

Re: The thing is.

>> Frankly, most people won't care. The US is mainly concerned about drug smuggling, diseases...

If the people working there don't need green cards, etc., it doesn't sound like they're going to have employment taxes (Federal income tax and Social Security) deducted from their paychecks and sent to the Internal Revenue Service. That's what's going to bring the Feds down on them if nothing else does. In the U.S., laws against illegal drug imports and (especially) illegal immigration are enforced far less rigorously than is the collection of taxes from employees. The IRS is a jealous god, effectively unrestrained by law or politics--the officials whose pay and patronage depend on tax collection are the last people to challenge it.

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Happy

Sounds like Grahem

Trying to tow the UK outside the 5 mile limit.

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Meh

Not a new idea ...

... see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HavsOq3RzQ&feature=related

but as previous posts have indicated, the loopholes have been closed.

I'm curious to know how that 10 GB/S* laser link is supposed to work. Wave action would make staying on target difficult, I think. Are they using a computer-controlled, servo-aimed transceiver mounting platform?

*Per Comcast T&Cs, that's "up to" 10 GB/S.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not a new idea ...

"Wave action would make staying on target difficult, I think."

I thought gyro-stabilised satellite dishes on boats were tried tested and proven commercially available products?

Try searching for "gyro stabilised satellite tv antenna", for example.

Using similar technology for a one off application using laser instead of satellite won't be trivial but it's not rocket science either.

Then hope that the timeouts and retries in TCP/IP are good enough to handle the times when the laser is inevitably off target for a short while, or a big bird/microlight flies through the beam, or...

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Re: Not a new idea ...

Regarding TCP timeouts.

Mobile (cellular) data traffic doesn't leave all the reliability issues to be handled by the upper transport protocol (e.g. TCP). The link layer (whether WCDMA or LTE) implements different levels of quality of service and performs automatic retransmission when necessary (see ARQ and HARQ).

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Bronze badge

Re: Not a new idea ...

If they're using a laser to a shore station, they have to be in line-of-sight. The horizon would be about 17 miles from the ship. The shore station wouldn't be on-shore, but would have more height. You're not going to get clear of the 200nm economic zone. That would need a 20,000 foot tower.

About the only advantage I can see is the possibility of in-person visits by US nationals to external programming teams. And getting the non-US personnel to the ship looks tricky.

As far as pay and tax collection go, I suppose that there are precedents for the crew of ships.

It all sounds a bit far-fetched. I wonder how much money will be spent on the "planning" before the investors in the company notice nothing is happening.

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Bronze badge

Re: Not a new idea ...

Area not known for fog then?

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Alien

Re: Not a new idea ...

Clearly the laser should be mounted on the back of a genetically modified shark?

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Silver badge

My comentardery on this from a while back:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1251230

It's a no-go from a local logistics point of view. Fools, money, etc ...

EOF

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18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

Sounds about right.

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