The History of Microsoft's Anti-Competitive Behavior
He's probably talking about the Disney that's had a hand in every copyright extension in the 20th century aftery your 1909 case. 28 years + the posibility of renewal is not nearly as bad as 90 years + DMCA and other absurdly broken laws we have now. People are waking up to the tyrany around them and they won't tollerate ACTA and further foolishness.
None of it really matters now. Broadcast is dying and their little file clerks at M$ are going down with them. Good riddance to bad rubbish, it's all downhill from here.
Anonymous Blogger Outed By Politician
Representatives are special. There's nothing to keep them from stalking people in their spare time. The minute he uses any of his state privileges or state employees to do the job, he's crossed the line. The only way you can spend state time and money is by passing a law telling everyone how the money is to be spent. We do not and never should have a blog police.
A full investigation of the means of discovery should be launched in this case. The representative obviously meant the outing as a form of retribution and punishment. He may also have violated the US Constitution by searching private property without reasonable suspicion of a crime. Where there is malice and means there is often crime.
How Do I Make My Netbook More Manly?
The mod needs to be in his head. A laptop won't change his presence/personality. Insecurity over mistaken perception ... why? Now for some mods that I've done.
Aluminum up armoring is a practical mod. You can use cheap flashing aluminum and silicone type adhesives to make a durable, tough and relatively light weight cover for easily scratched or soiled plastic. If your plastic is hard enough and in good shape, you don't need this.
Support GNU with stickers. GNU is good for you.
Rogue SharePoint sites pose security menace
Setting up a Windows "server" is a security problem but not much more of one than an office full of Windows desktops. How many stories do people have to read about M$ specific viruses and worms before they recognize a complete security failure?
If you are Gartner and your business depends on people using Windows, you might overlook such problems and other parts of reality. The ease of setting up GNU/Linux has been a big problem for M$ for the better part of a decade. Why bother with a Windows or Sharepoint install when you can have Apache from an auto configuring, zero cost CD in about 15 minutes?
Indian PM Candidate Promises $200 Laptop
and OLPC and plenty of others. Now all they have to do is buy them and use them as text book and paper substitutes. It's very cool to see a politician who gets that non free is expensive and bad for kids.
Cisco Barges Into the Server Market
According to the Register in summary,
you can't ignore Windows in the data center
Nor could you ignore a black adder but it's not what you expect to find there. Sheesh. How low can the Register go?
As for Cisco, it's a good thing they have piles of cash - business with M$ usually requires a lot of it and M$ is unusually hungry these days.
"Bridge To Microsoft" Gets Federal Stimulus Funds
3) This "bridge" is not on private property. It's on public property.
I like being called "twitter" by you idiots. It's almost as dumb as your asserting that building public roads and bridges on M$'s private property is something done for the public good. Most private landowners have to pay someone to improve their land with roads and bridges. Having them owned by the public is even better than having the public build them, if you are into that kind of corruption, because it means the public will continue to pay to maintain them. You M$ defenders like to play the public ownership up as some kind of justification for yet more public money being spent for M$'s benefit.
You M$ defenders really have no shame do you? We're talking about business friendly Bloomberg here. Even a M$ contractor is quoted saying there are better uses for public money. Yet all you tools are here pretending some great public good is being done. Sheesh. Here's something better and cheaper: Get M$'s network and OS up to spec so that people don't have to waste time commuting every day. Good luck doing that without bringing more free software onto your campus. Ha!
"Bridge To Microsoft" Gets Federal Stimulus Funds
As someone who once worked at MS (and now at a Linux company, so sad that I feel I need to qualify that)
You should qualify that further. Some people consider Novell a "Linux company" but it's poison.
The city of Redmond is 47,000 people. There are 40,000 employees of Microsoft in Redmond every day.
Most people would consider a company that works hard to avoid local taxes to be a significant burden instead of the economic contributor people expect. Why is it that more M$ employees don't live in Redmond? Why is it that the 40,000 people of Redmond should shoulder the cost of a bridge on private property? Why should Federal funds be used for such a project? [Hint: they avoid Federal and International taxes with their Irish shell company.]
If Microsoft bought Dell...
As cheap as Dell is, M$ does not have what it takes to buy a $17 billion company, nor will it ever make sense for M$. M$ has always played vendors off against each other and stuck them with risk. A M$ owned Dell would end that game and move the survivors straight to free software. It would be suicide for M$ but they are going away so anything is possible. They keep trying to buy relevance in entertainment, search, ad brokering, social networks, etc and failing. Hardware could be their next big failure.
YouTube To Block Music Videos In the UK
Orwell was concerned with government interference in popular culture and the damage this does to society. In his Homage to Catalina, he notes his shock at meeting a "professional liar," a PR person for the Soviet government. He also notes the trust ignorant people invest in such liars. In 1984 popular culture was reduced to folk songs that no one had the vocabulary to understand and mindless songs and books litterally "spun" by machines. The primary control of culture today by government comes from the abuse of copyright law. We should all be concerned by the intellectual poverty this brings and the political abuse that is both cause and effect of this control and poverty. Every step away from freedom of expression and exchange of ideas brings us closer to other forms of government control. In the end, you will see five fingers if you are told to see five fingers.
Bill Would Require ISPs, Wi-Fi Users To Keep Logs
It may be reasonable for a court to order a wiretap from an ISP, but it should only be for a specific person and for a limited time and done under reasonable, sworn testimony, suspicion of real crime. That's the legitimate standard set by the fourth amendment. Keeping tabs on everyone is obviously unreasonable - it is expensive and potentially abusive. Private interests should not even be allowed to do the same and there are good ways to demand it.
The kind of laws that people demand are the opposite, that ISPs not be allowed to keep this kind of information because it violates the privacy of users. Almost all US ISPs enjoy some kind of government protection from competition, be it public servitude monopoly, frequency allocation monopolies or other exclusive use of public resources. This exclusivity can be used if government does not have the courage to do what is right for moral reasons alone. Open spectrum will eliminate the kind of centralization that makes it possible for government to demand records keeping in the first place, but it is becoming clear that surveillance and control are the reasons the US has such crappy networks.
Map As Metaphor In a Location-Aware Mobile World
I hate how people FUD Google and otehrs for making things available that others have collected for years. Phone companies have known where you are since the invention of cell phones and GPS has been a feature you can't turn off for almost a decade. Your ISP knows more about you than facebook ever will. Your grocer is busy selling you down the river too. Private companies like ChoicePoint have been collecting it all for Uncle Same for a long time too. Welcome to Database Nation, it sucks.
What can and should be done about it? The most harmful stuff is happening behind you back and it needs to be fought with good privacy laws. Grocers, ISPs and others should not be allowed to keep extensive records and should never be allowed to sell them around. The fourth amendment needs to be re-instituted in a big way, so that your tax dollars are not wasted chasing down political opposition. Facebook is not that big a threat because it can be and will be replaced with distributed and free software. It's only a matter of time before Facebook goes the way of GeoCities, AOL and other walled gardens. If we keep freedom in mind, the right answers will come.
Do We Need a New Internet?
Corporate and University intranets are already like this. There is no anonymity, privacy, right to use the facilities owned by all and everything is monitored. Prisons are like that too, but no safety is gained. It is your rights that protect you from abuse. No one gives these rights up, they are taken by force. It would be nice if these non free networks protected the rest of us from the Windows cesspool but we are all threatened as by the botnets that fester there, much as we are all threatened by enslaved people in places like China. The lack of freedom and dignity is exactly what makes the world dangerous.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
[the world will not remain] permanently half slave and half free. ... It will become all one thing or all the other.
Fight for your network freedom as if your free press and all your other rights depended on it, because they do. The rest of your freedom and safety fall with your ability to share with and learn from your neighbors.
Rabbit Ears To Stage a Comeback Thanks To DTV
The things you need:
The rest can go. In a pinch, I can lose the internet thing too - there's enough free internet for me to keep email and get my news. A land line, netflix and a few other services rate as way better deals than advert stuffed cable TV, which is next to unwatchable. Pay per view is compelling? LOL, dude. People are having a hard time paying their mortgage.
Microsoft To Open Retail Stores
Twitter has rounded up the doom and gloom. WSJ, and others predict failure based on M$'s heavy retail chain dependence (aka channel stuffing and partner squeeze in less polite company), and previous vertical integration failures. Yes, M$ had a store before but other, larger vertical integration failures are more predictive. Remember that Gateway, HP and Compaq efforts? In short, M$ has either lost it's grip on retailers or will soon with stunts like this.
M$ partners should always remember that M$ considers you a "one night stand" to be used and discarded.
Microsoft Accused of Squandering Billions On R&D
You think anti-trust regulation is what's holding M$ back? I'll start to believe that when I see anti-trust regulations actually prevent technical or market sabotage. M$ does whatever they want and pays the fines if caught but they usually are not caught. Anti-trust has done nothing to keep them from pushing their DRM, "signed" software and other competitor and user hostile stuff into Vista. You can't really think it's kept them from adding useful features.
Microsoft Agrees To License ActiveSync To Google
M$ will do what they can to break other services. They can hardly make their own work, do you expect others to really be able to use them?
Average User Only Runs 2 Apps, So Microsoft Will Charge For More
Some people would rather type, "oowriter" than click through a menu tree. For them, GNU/Linux is easier than Windows, which has always had problems with paths and idiotic file naming conventions. It is also hard to beat a GNU/Linux command line for getting batch work done. Scripting for Winblows is a nightmare by comparison. If all you ever do is browse the web, you might not miss a command line. Most people prefer a proper choice of rich options.
CBS Hosts Ad-Funded TV Series, Incl. Original Star Trek
I'm having trouble watching it with gnash. That might be a Slashdot visiting thing or it might be a flash thing. I hate flash for obtuse problems like that.
Will the New RIAA Tactic Boost P2P File Sharing?
The RIAA's draconian attempts to stop sharing harmed legitimate free media and everyone's free press. There is nothing the RIAA can do to attack sharing, even the 100 year old media they "own", that won't look bad because sharing is good. Music is supposed to be fun and unifying. RIAA greed has turned it into something toxic to own even if you don't share it.
The only thing that can make them look good is for them to have confidence in their product and let people share with their friends. Like so many artist know, fans buy things.
Emerging Fallout from Facebook and Twitter DDoS
Erris writes "The emerging Facebook and Twitter DDoS attack story has Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols saying, "It's time to get rid of Windows."
It happened because Windows is an insecure piece of junk. Anyone who knows anything about security knows that this kind of disaster was only a matter of time. Windows botnets are responsible for DDoS attacks and most of e-mail spam. You cannot secure Windows. Microsoft keeps saying that they will, and they always fail. Period.
Twitter and Facebook users are just the kind of people M$ can't afford to lose. They are the decision makers who decided Vista's fate and will soon do the same for Windows 7. They are generally aware of Windows performance problems that 7 is still slower than XP and that Ubuntu is faster than both. Will people finally heed the security warning and walk away from Windows at work?"
Link to Original Source
Senator Says M$ H1B Program Betrays Amerians
Erris writes "Republican US Senator Grassley, remembering that Microsoft has lobbied Congress for an expansion of the H-1B program, worries that the company may fire US workers in the big layoff, a violation of the guest worker program. The Senator emailed his concerns to Steve Ballmer:
companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work-visa-program employees over qualified American workers. Our immigration policy is not intended to harm the American work force. ... Microsoft has a moral obligation to protect these American workers by putting them first during these difficult economic times.
The company responded by emotionally defending H1B workers, they have families too and discrimination is wrong. Ture, but arguments by the programmer's guild can be equally emotional and also address the legal issue. The moral issue, that indentured servitude is wrong, is rarely addressed by anyone."
Link to Original Source
Old Bush PCs Frustrate Obama Team at White House.
Erris (531066) writes "The world might be laughing and scared as Obama's web page sends people to gmail, and his Blackberry is all but forbidden, but the team really didn't like what they found in the White House.
one of the first orders of business is getting the computer systems up and running. ... the [mac using] Obama team waltzed into the White House, only to find "computers outfitted with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software." Disappointing? You bet. Furthermore, "Laptops were scarce, assigned to only a few people in the West Wing. The team was left struggling to put closed captions on online videos."
I suppose XP, IIS and Outlook are not the right tool for the job. The older equipment and software are being called a serious issue."
Link to Original Source
Library Group Pulls a CDDB.
Erris writes "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Others are doomed to watch.
The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is a nonprofit, made up of member libraries that basically tries to help facilitate access to information among libraries. That seems like a good thing. One of its offerings is WorldCat — basically a big online catalog of library collections, so that it's easy for anyone to find books that are available at other libraries. This, obviously, seems quite useful, and many libraries agree and are a part of WorldCat. However, a month ago, OCLC announced new policies for WorldCat that effectively allowed OCLC to claim ownership over the records that any library put in its system — and, upon doing so, limiting what libraries could do with that data (such as, say, giving it to competing cataloging services).
CSIS to Set Min. Standards for All US Cyberspace
Erris writes "Everyone's favorite Cold War survivalists, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has put out a 96 page report on US Cyberspace, "SECURING CYBERSPACE FOR THE 44TH PRESIDENCY." If the report's frightening recommendations are heeded, private networks and institutions are to be regulated. It looks like they want to freeze the momentum and direction of the Bush administration, which they admit was generated in secret and has not been effective, and apply it to the private sector.
Do not start over. The Bush administration took a major step toward improving federal cybersecurity with its Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. Although CNCI is not comprehensive and unnecessary secrecy reduced its effect, we believe it is a good place to start.
We recommend that the United States buy only secure products and services; standards and guidelines for secure products should be developed in partnership with industry."
Curiously, the words "free" and "open" are nowhere in the report, which reminds me of this effort to buy "secure" Vista. We will surely hear more about this."
Link to Original Source
Archive.org Makes Move to Ogg Theora.
Erris (531066) writes "The Internet Archive is moving it's vast public domain movie collection to Ogg Theora.
We will make a new Ogg Theora (with Vorbis audio) opensource/free-based video derivative. This derivative will play natively in Firefox 3.1 release (v3.1 is due around the end of 2008).
Native Firefox support will finally make media cross platform. Other news of interest includes removing older 64kb and 256kb MPEG-4 derivatives, removing older .flv "Flash Video" derivatives, removing older .mpg MPEG-1 derivatives, remaking animated GIFs and Thumbnails spread across the videos better and making them so the user can jump into videos by clicking on the thumbnail image."
Link to Original Source
Jamaica's Public Broadcasting Corporation Robbed
Erris writes "Yet another vault of analog music has been destroyed and the world has lost many irreplaceable recordings. Thousands of records were stolen from Jamaica's Public Broadcasting Corporation.
Created in 1961 ... The radio station was there at the birth of Jamaica's music business when all kinds of music burst forth on the Caribbean island. Artists would go out and make just one vinyl record only for radio, a one-off cut ... [by January of this year] 80% of the collection had been taken, but the true scale of the loss was difficult to calculate as no accurate records were kept. Nearly one year on not a single record has been recovered, but officials are hoping an appeal to music fans will help replace the collection built up over the years by the JBC.
Works that are not duplicated and shared are always lost. This is real the price of copyright and other anti-social laws we have."
Link to Original Source
Botnet Spews Spam from M$ Campus.
Erris writes "If M$ can't secure Windows, who can? More than 100 machines have been logged spewing penis pill spam from M$ IP addresses. It's doubtful M$ would send spam directly this way, so machines on their campus must be infected."
Link to Original Source
De Beers Attacks NYT-SE Spoof.
Erris writes "Miffed by a mild and constitutionally protected fake advertisement, De Beers joins a long list of companies that attempt to censor by attacking domain name registrars. If they succeed, the whole Yes Men NYT spoof, will be taken down. The EFF have taken up the cause.
On November 12, 2008, a group of artists and activists unveiled a brilliant spoof of the New York Times, widely distributed to readers in New York and Los Angeles. This "July 4, 2009" version of the Times — which the real New York Times described as a "Grade-A caper" — boldly announced the end of the Iraq War, the nationalization of major oil conglomerates, the elimination of tuition at public universities, and the indictment of soon-to-be-former president Bush on charges of high treason. The poignant send-up, also available in an online version at www.nytimes-se.com, is a perfect example of parody in the 21st century.
De Beers responded not by confronting the authors (whose parody is protected by the First Amendment) but instead by threatening their Swiss-based domain name registrar, Joker.com. De Beers has demanded that Joker.com disable the spoof website's domain name or face liability for trademark infringement.
It is highly unlikely that anyone will mistake the ad for an official De Beers position because the people of De Beers have never been so kind or caring. We should not be surprised that a company that cares so little for suppliers lives would try to censor their customers.
Full Disclosure: my wife no longer wears her engagement ring, a sad decision that I respect."
Link to Original Source
Indonesia to RFID Chip Aids Victims.
Erris (531066) writes "Indonesia will be using RFID chips to track and punish "sexually aggressive" AIDS victims. Activists decry the planed pogram as an arbitrary, impractical and stigmatizing invasion of privacy.
"The health situation is extraordinary, so we have to take extraordinary action," said an MP, Weynand Watari.
John Howson, associate director of the International HIV/Aids Alliance, said: "The majority of new infections come from people who don't know they are HIV positive. It is not going to be effective and you are treating people as criminals. It will increase stigma and promote a feeling of complacency."
I wonder what RFID industry spokes people would say about this one, given their opposition to California laws meant to curb prevent involuntary chipping. Wouldn't the money be better spent on prevention, drugs and research? Your personal effects already tag you, do you have your RFID Guardian yet?"
Link to Original Source
EU Strikes Down French 3 Strikes Law
Erris (531066) writes "Opendotdotdot has good news about laws in the EU:
EU culture ministers yesterday (20 November) rejected French proposals to curb online piracy through compulsory measures against free downloading ... [and instead pushed] for "a fair balance between the various fundamental rights" while fighting online piracy, first listing "the right to personal data protection," then "the freedom of information" and only lastly "the protection of intellectual property".
[This] indicates that the culture ministers and their advisers are beginning to understand the dynamics of the Net, that throttling its use through crude instruments like the "three strikes and you're out" is exactly the wrong thing to do ...
It's a good day when people value freedom more than imaginary property."
Link to Original Source
Debt and Hiring Freeze, M$ is Over.
Erris (531066) writes "Slashdot user twitter pulls together various bad news from the soft to ask, "Is M$ Finally Over?" It's hard to see how this could not be true from a company that's losing about $20 billion per year and has neither product nor plan to turn things around. Their main money makers are clear flops."
Link to Original Source
Erris (531066) writes "The Register and others are reporting the results of a 400,000 person 21 year study which concludes, "no evidence for an association between tumor risk and cellular telephone use among either short-term or long-term users. Moreover, the narrow confidence intervals provide evidence that any large association of risk of cancer and cellular telephone use can be excluded.""
Friend and fellow Slashdot reader decided to gather up all of his published articles. I don't have as many, and the subjects are different. Thanks to the magic of the firehose, these are easy to find. Here they are:
- November 23, 2008 - EU Strikes Down French "3 Strikes" Copyright Infringement Law
- January 31, 2008 - How Pervasive is ISP Outbound Email Filtering?
- December 8, 2007 - NYT Editorial Slams ISPs Over Online Freedom
- November 5, 2007 - US Wants Courts to OK Warrantless Email Snooping
- September 15, 2007 - PC Superstore Admits Linux Hinge Repair Mistake
- September 3, 2007 - WGA Meltdown Blamed On Human Error
- August 27, 2007 - Valve Says Choice to Make DX10 Vista-Only Hurt PC Gaming
- April 12, 2007 - National Intelligence Director Seeks Expansion of Spy Powers
- December 12, 2006 - Bill Would Extend Online Obscenity Laws to Blogs, Mailing Lists, John McCain!
- July 25, 2002 - NYT Discovers the Panopticon, blames Google for loss of privacy by organizing what you publish.
That seems to be all.
France Creates Internet Blacklist
From the SF Gate:
The French state and Internet service providers have struck a deal to block sites carrying child pornography or content linked to terrorism or racial hatred, ... a "black list" will be built up based on input from Internet users who signal sites dealing with the offensive material. all service providers in France have agreed to block offending sites
other countries that have already implemented similar measures include Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Canada and New Zealand [and the US].
Denial of service has never been this easy. This is what ISP packet filters were made for. Say goodbye to freedom of press.
UK Student Arrested for Downloading Manual from US Gov.
It is against the law to posses terrorist related literature in the UK. A graduate student studying terror tactics found out the hard way what happens to thought criminals in a police state.
The student had obtained a copy of the al-Qaida training manual from a US government website for his research into terrorist tactics. ... the document was found by a university staff member on an administrator's [Hisham Yezza] computer. ... Despite his Nottingham University supervisors insisting the materials were directly relevant to his research, Rizwaan Sabir, 22, was held for nearly a week under the Terrorism Act [and] has spoken of the "psychological torture" he endured in custody.
Sabir's family home was searched and their computer and mobile phones seized. They were released uncharged six days later but Yezza, who is Algerian, was immediately rearrested on unrelated immigration charges and now faces deportation.
Dr Alf Nilsen, a research fellow at the university's school of politics and international relations, said that Yezza is being held at Colnbrook immigration removal centre, due to be deported on Tuesday. "If he is taken to Algeria, he may be subjected to severe human rights violations after his involvement in this case. He has been in the UK for 13 years. His work is here, his friends are here, his life is here."
The University staff are also objecting to the violation of academic freedom and police power to arrest before properly investigating.
Discussion by D Afifi is here. The 24 hour lag was worthwhile for including news of a protest march by faculty.
South Affica Appeals OOXML Vote, first country to do so.
Foot in Mouth Dept.
Tectonic reports South Africa's ISO appeal.
The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has filed an appeal against the ISO decision to accept Microsofts Office OpenXML (OOXML) as an international standard. South Africa is the first country to appeal the decision within the stipulated 60-day appeal period.
CEO Martin Kuscus, SABS says it is appealing on the basis of flawed procedures in the ballot resolution meeting (BRM) held in February. SABS also says that it is concerned that there is an increasing trend of international organisations being able to circumvent the consensus-based decision making of the ISO and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).
Pity M$ Rep, Jason Matusow, who was tasked with this fight. He not only lost, he put his foot in his mouth by insulting South Africans and many others.
CBS to Buy CNET.
CBS is purchasing CNET.
Television company CBS has agreed to buy technology news and entertainment website CNET for about $1.75bn (£900m).
CBS said that the purchase of CNET, which owns sites such as ZDNet and Gamespot, would help to boost its online presence. ...Other CNET sites include News.com, TV.com, Mp3.com and MySimon.
CBS will combine them with its own websites such as CBSSports.com and CBSNews.com.
CBS is itself owned by media giant National Amusements, which is essentially one rich and powerful person.
UK Traffic Cams Abused for Political Purposes.
Two peace activists were stopped and harassed when traffic cameras claimed they were terrorists based on license plate ID.
John Catt, an 80 year old pensioner at the time and his daughter Linda (with no criminal record between them) - were stopped and their vehicle searched under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 by City of London police. They were both threatened with arrest if they refused to answer police questions.
Unbeknown to them the vehicle in which they were travelling had triggered an alert as it passed an automatic vehicle number plate recognition camera part of the cops Ring of steel around the City of London.
Now you see what traffic cameras are really for. Because the UK has more cameras than anywhere else, it's natural that the first political abuse happened there. This case is much like an earlier FBI database abuse against US peace activists, which showed us what these terrorists "watch" lists are really for.
"Watch" lists which accuse people of an infamous crime and punish them without due process of law are explicitly prohibited by the fifth, sixth and seventh amendments of US Constitution. When you allow such violations, government wastes your tax money to target and harass innocent people who are fighting for your rights.
USA Today Reports Botnet Menace as 40% of Net.
The botnet menace is getting mainstream attention from USA Today:
Largely unnoticed by the public, botnets have come to inundate the Internet. On a typical day, 40% of the 800 million computers connected to the Internet are bots engaged in distributing e-mail spam, stealing sensitive data typed at banking and shopping websites, bombarding websites as part of extortionist denial-of-service attacks, and spreading fresh infections, says Rick Wesson, CEO of Support Intelligence.
This general alarm without identifying the central culprit is not good enough for some people:
The mainstream media consistently use the term "computers" when they make forays into this realm. Yes, they are computers, but they're not just any computer -- they are all running Windows. All of them. Let's not mince words here: Botnets are comprised of compromised Windows systems. Thus, Microsoft's massive security failures are at the very core of the spam problem.
I agree. Unless people know the root cause, they can't take effective action and solve the problem.
ACLU Claims Total Information Awareness is Revived.
The ACLU and Wall Street Journal claim TIA is alive and well:
Total Information Awareness Lives. A stunning new report indicates the NSA has effectively revived the Orwellian Total Information Awareness domestic-spying program that was banned by Congress in 2003. In response, the ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for more information about the spying. And, we moved the Surveillance Clock one minute closer to midnight.
This won't be news to most of us but it's good to see the the information getting to a non technical audience and databases being understood for the threat they are.
The FBI's Unlimited Back-Door to Your Cell Phone.
A security consultant whistle blower claims a U.S. government office in Quantico, Virginia, has direct, high-speed access to a major wireless carrier's systems, exposing customers' voice calls, data packets and physical movements to uncontrolled surveillance.
Pasdar tumbled to the surveillance superhighway in September 2003, when he led a "Rapid Deployment" team hired to revamp security on the carrier's internal network. He noticed that the carrier's officials got squirrelly when he asked about a mysterious "Quantico Circuit" -- a 45 megabit/second DS-3 line linking its most sensitive network to an unnamed third party.
"I wanted to put some access controls around it; they vehemently denied it. And when I wanted to put some logging around it, they denied that." Pasdar won't name the wireless carrier in question, but his claims are nearly identical to unsourced allegations made in a federal lawsuit filed in 2006 against four phone companies and the U.S. government for alleged privacy violations.
Vista and XP have DST bugs. Users Need to Check.
InformationWeek reports that Vista and XP may not automatically adjust clocks for DST tonight.
To ensure Windows users aren't hit with a daylight time bug, Microsoft has launched an automated diagnostic and update service on its Web site that installs patches on systems that need them. The service is available for all versions of Windows Vista and most versions of Windows XP, as well as Windows Server 2003.
If you are a Windows XP SP3 beta vict^H^H^H^Htester, you can be sure it won't work. GNU/Linux users, of course, have nothing to worry about.
More Military Censorship: All Blogs Blocked by US Airforce.
The US Military has already curtailed what servicemen are allowed to write on the net. Now the US Air Force "Cyber Control" would tell people what they can read. Anything other than big publisher news is forbidden.
Until recently, each major command of the Air Force had some control over what sites their troops could visit, the Air Force Times reports. Then the Air Force Network Operations Center, under the service's new "Cyber Command," took over.
AFNOC has imposed bans on all sites with "blog" in their URLs, thus cutting off any sites hosted by Blogspot. Other blogs, and sites in general, are blocked based on content reviews performed at the base, command and AFNOC level ... "Often, we block first and then review exceptions," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, a Cyber Command spokesman.
"Basically ... if it's a place like The New York Times, an established, reputable media outlet, then it's fairly cut and dry that that's a good source, an authorized source," said Maj. Henry Schott, A5 for Air Force Network Operations.
Plenty of people are objecting to this and previous censorship. Good luck to service men who want to see movies of their kids on YouTube.
Cory Doctorow Alarmed by Silverlight Library of Congress.
Cory Doctorow sounds the alarm over a Library of Congress deal with M$ that will have collections locked up in Silverlight.
This deal involves the donation of "technology, services and funding" (e.g., mostly not money) with a purported value of $3m from Microsoft to the Library of Congress. The Library, in turn, agrees to put kiosks running Vista in the library and to use Microsoft Silverlight to "help power the library's new Web site, www.myloc.gov."
I'll double the M$ deal and offer them $6 million in perl scripts and an infinite value of free OS software if they let me (or Google or any other honest company) publish their collections in free formats. Shame!
How pervasive is ISP outbound email filtering?
A member of the Baton Rouge LUG noticed that Cox checks the text of outgoing email and rejects mail containing key phrases. I was aware of forced inbox filtering that has caused problems and been abused by other ISPs in China and here. I've also read about forced use of ISP SMTP and outbound throttling, but did not know they outbound filtered as well. How prevalent and justified is this practice? Wouldn't be better to cut off people with infected computers than to censor the internet? Why do we insist on supporting Windows when there are free alternatives?
Help Test and Fund the RFID Guardian
PhD candidate Melanie Rieback has been touring and explaining the RFIDGuardian. The device selectively blocks RFID signals and fits in your pocket but the goal is something small enough to embed in cellphones or PDAs. You can read all about it in Hongliang Wang's thesis and sign up to purchase their first models at the site.
This has previously been disscussed here and here but the thesis and hardware Beta test are new. Go get them!
NYT Slams ISPs Over Online Freedom.
The New York Times is running an opinion piece which lambasts US Internet companies for cooperating with China and other repressive governments. The failure of and lack of ISP support for bills that undermine the, "just following orders" excuse is a new and interesting charge.
Yahoo's collaboration is appalling, and Yahoo is not the only American company helping the Chinese government repress its people. Microsoft shut down a blogger at Beijing`s request. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft censor searches in China. Cisco Systems provided hardware used by Beijing to censor and monitor the Internet.
Last January, Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey reintroduced the Global Online Freedom Act in the House. It would fine American companies that hand over information about their customers to foreign governments that suppress online dissent. The bill would at least give American companies a solid reason to decline requests for data, but the big Internet companies do not support it. That shows how much they care about the power of information to liberate the world.
This is also a swipe against the same practices committed in the US.
Clippy Does Santa Wrong. M$ Santa Spews Sex and Drugs.
How would you feel if the local Santa talked to your 11 year old about oral sex and drugs instead of Christmas goodies? Microsoft's Santa AI seems to be doing just that!
El Reg says: Eat it. Santa says: You want me to eat what?!? It's fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else...
When Santa asks what you want for Christmas, try saying "cake". He'll reply: "You don't need drugs when you're high on life!"
Good thing M$ has parental control protecting innocents from net nasties. These things were not repeated, they were stored. It's amazing the AI would have any output text about risky topics.
Update: M$ Killed Santa. No one embarrasses the soft, no one!
KDE 4.0 is Ready for Daily Use, KDE 4.0 Release Candidate 1
KDE 4.0 is here. The development platform is frozen and the majority of applications for KDE 4.0 are ready for daily use.
The KDE Community is happy to announce the immediate availability of the first release candidate for KDE 4.0. This release candidate marks that the majority of the components of KDE 4.0 are now approaching release quality.
Release Candidate 1 is the first preview of KDE 4.0 which is suitable for general use and discovering the improvements that have taken place all over the KDE codebase. ... the final version of the KDE Development Platform, ... is frozen and is now of release quality. The sourcecode for the KDE Development Platform can be found in the "stable/" subdir on KDE's FTP server and mirrors.
Animal Rights Activist Faces Jail in 1st RIPA Decrypt Demand
An anonymous animal rights activist, faces jail time if she does not hand over encryption keys to files she claims are not hers. This is the first use of the infamous RIPA laws.
Section Three of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) came into force at the start in October 2007, seven years after the original legislation passed through parliament. Intended primarily to deal with terror suspects, it allows police to demand encryption keys or provide a clear text transcript of encrypted text.
"Now apparently they have found some encrypted files on my computer (which was stolen by police thugs in May this year) which they think they have 'reasonable suspicion' to pry into using the excuse of 'preventing or detecting a crime'," she writes. The woman says that any encrypted data put on the PC must have been put there by somebody else.
I really feel safer with all these great anti-terror laws protecting me from peace protesters and animal rights activists and other political opposition.
Newspaper Owners Arrested for Publishing Invasive Subpoena
Yet another sign of tyranny. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix retaliated against a newspaper by demanding the IP addresses of all visitors and then jailed the owners when they published the outrageous subpoena.
US Wants Courts to OK Warrantless Email Snooping
The US government has affirmed its longstanding antagonism to employee and citizen privacy in electronic communications. Contrary to rules for snail mail and phone conversation, employers can take what they want, when they want. Government wants the same ability. Their arguments follow a 40 year long chain of faulty reasoning and malicious intent designed to overturn Katz vrs the US.
On October 8, 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati granted the government's request for a full-panel hearing in United States v. Warshak case centering on the right of privacy for stored electronic communications. ... the position that the United States government is taking if accepted, may mean that the government can read anybody's email at any time without a warrant. The most distressing argument the government makes in the Warshak case is that the government need not follow the Fourth Amendment in reading emails sent by or through most commercial ISPs. The terms of service (TOS) of many ISPs permit those ISPs to monitor user activities to prevent fraud, enforce the TOS, or protect the ISP or others, or to comply with legal process. If you use an ISP and the ISP may monitor what you do, then you have waived any and all constitutional privacy rights in any communications or other use of the ISP.
What's needed, of course, is more protection not less. Previous failures do not excuse future violations. Government violation of privacy costs money and spending money that way is outrageous. They should instead spend them money prosecuting companies that violate user privacy or block communications. Half of the government's argument would fall apart if ISPs permitted people to run their own mail servers. The other half falls apart in the face of widespread encryption. All of it is wrong and that should be enough for them to lose, but there's little hope of that.