Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Does Even Amazing Partisan Tech Deserve Applause?

JPMH Not really (209 comments)

Steinberg is really thinking about the low-budget, non-commercial, very effective sites that his charity MySociety has set up over the last 10 years in the UK, which aim to help non-party democracy at a grass roots level, by helping make citizens more powerful against government at all levels, by creating systems that give them more information, help them work together, and track and share the outcomes of what happens when they tangle with power.

What Steinberg is saying is that systems like that, that make the citizen more powerful, are far more impressive to him than systems which make a particular political party more effective. It's a bit surprising that so far seemingly every poster here has missed Steinberg's point.

about 2 years ago
top

Does Even Amazing Partisan Tech Deserve Applause?

JPMH Tom Steinberg's sites *do* help people (209 comments)

Tom Steinberg's sites are in the UK, so probably not well known in the USA, but they *are* about grass-roots democracy, and *are* about helping people -- using the internet for democracy in a different way than party politics.

So for example:

  • TheyWorkForYou -- a site which took the official record of the UK Parliament, and transformed it, making it searchable and commentable, and easy to track MPs by what they'd said. MPs were so impressed, they changed crown copyright law to make it legal.
  • The Public Whip -- easily browsable index of how MPs have voted on any particular issue or issues
  • Write to Them -- originally an email to fax gateway to allow constituents to contact their MPs, in the days when few MPs used or knew about email. Still helps UK citizens identify exactly who are their elected representatives, and how to reach them, at different levels of government.
  • WhatDoTheyKnow Site making it very easy to file Freedom of Information requests, and to track and share their progress, in a way that anyone can browse.
  • FixMyStreetSite allowing residents to publicly report problems with their local neighbourhoods to their local council, and browse other such reports, council responses etc.

These are the sort of sites Tom Steinberg is talking about -- sites that change the balance between people and government at a grass roots level, by allowing people to work together and see what each other are doing.

I've used eg the FoI tool, and it works. Think of these as force-multipliers for the individual's voice and clout in society.

about 2 years ago
top

European Parliament Blocks Copyright Reform With 113% Voter Turnout

JPMH Re:Video of the voting (297 comments)

The agenda papers for the committee meeting can be found here.

It includes the following documents for this dossier:

* Text proposed by the EU Commission
* Committee rapporteur's draft report, with her proposed amendments (1 to 48)
* Amendments proposed by other members of the committee (49 to 170)
* Opinion of the Culture committee (CULT), and their proposed amendments (CULT 1 to CULT 55)
* Opinion of the committee on the Internal Market (IMCO), and their proposed amendments (IMCO 1 to 41).

Unfortunately there does not appear to be a copy of the "Compromise Amendments", including the disputed amendment in question, "Compromise 20". One of the MEPs complains in the video at the end of the agenda item (10:51) that the text of these were only circulated on the night before the meeting.

It's not unusual for new texts to appear as heads get bashed together in the days immediately before the actual voting (in fact, it is an essential part of the system); but in this case they don't appear to have been placed on the website, or at any rate I didn't know where to find them.

The amended report from JURI, consolidating the results of these votes, appears now to have been formally prepared with the document reference A7-0055/2012, though I couldn't find the text of it yet on the Parliament website. This will now go forward for a short debate before the whole parliament, before voting on the amendments proposed by JURI, the amendments proposed by the other two committees, and any other amendments to the Commission text proposed by a sufficient number of MEPs.

more than 2 years ago
top

European Parliament Blocks Copyright Reform With 113% Voter Turnout

JPMH Video of the voting (297 comments)

Video of the voting is available on the EP website. The agenda item starts at 10:27, and the voting runs from 10:31 to 10:51. The amendment in question appears to be "Compromise 20", voted on at 10:39, which is indeed rejected by 12 votes to 14. This was an all-party amendment that the centre-right EPP party then withdrew support from, because they were not entirely happy with the wording, according to one of their MEPs at the start of the meeting. (10:29). As the video shows, the EP tends to machine-gun through amendment votes, which are held in one swoop after months of discussion. You really need the papers for the meeting and your preferred faction's voting guide to turn them into an acceptable spectator sport. One of the extra votes could perhaps have been the chairman's casting vote; but it's not clear how there could have been two.

more than 2 years ago
top

UK Law Enforcement Starts Seizing Music Blogs

JPMH Re:Analysis (310 comments)

Wrong. The owner is Rackspace.com of San Antonio, but the server itself is located in the UK, which is why SOCA could indeed have been able to get to it.

inetnum: 83.138.166.64 - 83.138.166.127
netname: RSPC-UK-RACKSPACE-INTERNAL
remarks:
descr: Rackspace Managed Hosting
country: GB
admin-c: IA247-RIPE
tech-c: IA247-RIPE
remarks: rev-srv attribute deprecated by RIPE NCC on 02/09/2009

person: IP Admin
address: Rackspace Managed Hosting
112 E. Pecan St. Suite 600
San Antonio, Texas 78205
phone: +1 210 892 4000
fax-no: +1 210 892 4329
e-mail: ipadmin@rackspace.com
nic-hdl: IA247-RIPE
remarks: ### Rackspace Abuse Department
remarks: ### Please send any complaints to the following:
remarks: ### abuse@rackspace.com
mnt-by: RSPC-MNT
source: RIPE # Filtered

more than 2 years ago
top

US Government Seeks Extradition of UK Student For File-Sharing

JPMH The judge got it wrong: not "making available" (409 comments)

The judge got it wrong. In fact he admits he's going against case law. To quote from the judgment:

HHJ Ticehurst (@ para 71) in Rock & Overton held "make available should bear its ordinary and natural meaning". He distinguished between providing money "directly to" another as opposed to a financial adviser who may "point" another to a bank meaning the bank alone "makes available the money".

I have endeavoured to weigh these subtle distinctions. The diagrams of how as a matter of electronic mechanics (if I may term it) the TVShack websites actually operated favour HHJ Ticehurstâ(TM)s restrictive construction. To my mind there is much in the distinction factually...

In copyright law terms, O'Dwyer wasn't making the films "available". The person that made them available was the person who uploaded them to a download site. What O'Dwyer was doing was pointing to those sites, and (allegedly) thus encouraging people to download from them. In civil law, that is known as indirect or contributory infringement, as opposed to direct infringement which is the actual making available of copies. It is "making available" that can be a criminal offence under s.107(2A), not the encouragement or inducement of people to go ahead and download from such sites. Thus, for example, a briefing for UK Trading Standards officers, compiled by the Federation Against Copyright Theft, and hosted on the UK Intellectual Property Office's website, advises them that:

The offence in s107(2A) is now available as a tool to trading standards officers to prosecute uploading file sharers of digital product, such as film and music, whether or not they do so in the course of a business. [Emphasis added].

Interestingly, this may also be the position in the United States, where the law on contributory infringement is said to be civil law that has been developed by judges, but not reflected in any provisions of the criminal law. However this point appears not to have been argued by O'Dwyer's lawyers. What should have happened here is that the extradition proceedings should have been thrown out, on the basis that O'Dwyer's actions are not in fact covered by s.107(2A). But he should then have faced a full-on civil action in the UK courts from a consortium of content owners for the alleged indirect infringement. It is also about time that UK judges in extradition cases were directed to consider where a case should best be heard under conflict-of-laws provisions: the so-called "forum clause". In this case, with the alleged infringer being UK-based, and the alleged infringement being worldwide in scope, if this is supposed to be a crime under UK law it should have been tried under UK law.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

top

Chimneys of methane observed in Arctic (rewritten)

JPMH JPMH writes  |  more than 5 years ago

JPMH (100614) writes "A Swedish-Russian expedition in the Arctic ocean has observed "chimneys" of methane rising from holes in the permafrost lid which covers the seabed. (See also translations from the expedition blog here and here). Methane is a greenhouse gas twenty times more effective than CO2, and runaway methane hydrate breakdown has sometimes been connected with the Permian-Triassic mass-extinction event 251 million years ago.If the Siberian permafrost-seal thaws completely, a release of 10% of the methane hydrates in Siberia would be enough to increase the methane content of the planet's atmosphere by a factor of twelve. So far, the undersea melting has been concentrated where greatly increased volumes of meltwater have been discharged from Siberian rivers flowing north, releasing methane and methane hydrates trapped on the seabed under an ice layer. The observations tally with increasing numbers of methane hotspots that have appeared since 2003, which are now estimated to match the total organic methane release from the whole of the rest of the world's oceans combined."
top

Chimneys of escaping methane observed in Arctic

JPMH JPMH writes  |  more than 5 years ago

JPMH (100614) writes "A Swedish-Russian expedition in the Arctic ocean has observed "chimneys" of methane rising from holes in the permafrost lid which covers the seabed. The undersea melting appears to be concentrated where greatly increased volumes of meltwater have been discharged from Siberian rivers flowing north, releasing methane and methane hydrates trapped on the seabed under an ice layer. The observations tally with increasing numbers of methane hotspots that have appeared since 2003, which are now estimated to match the total organic methane release from the whole of the rest of the world's oceans combined. (See also translations from the expedition blog here and here). If the Siberian permafrost-seal thaws completely, a release of 10% of the methane hydrates in Siberia would be enough to increase the methane content of the planet's atmosphere by a factor of twelve. Methane is a greenhouse gas twenty times more effective than CO2, and runaway methane hydrate breakdown has sometimes been connected with the Permian-Triassic mass-extinction event 251 million years ago."
top

FTC asked to investigate copyright warnings

JPMH JPMH writes  |  more than 7 years ago

JPMH (100614) writes "A formal Federal Trade Commission complaint has been filed by the Computer & Communications Industry Association — a group which includes Google, Microsoft, and Red Hat, among others. According to Ars Technica's report, "the CCIA's complaint fingers the NFL, Major League Baseball, NBC Universal, Morgan Creek, DreamWorks, Harcourt Inc., and Penguin Group (USA) for deceptive trade practices, accusing them of systematically misrepresenting the rights of consumers to use copyrighted material. 'These warnings that we have been seeing for decades are false,' CCIA spokesperson Jake Ward told Ars Technica in a Monday interview. 'They are a misrepresentation of the law and a violation of consumers' rights.'""
top

JPMH JPMH writes  |  more than 7 years ago

JPMH (100614) writes "With the largest density of CCTV cameras in the world, and an increasing network of automatic number-plate recognition cameras on main roads, Britain has long been a pioneer for the surveillance society. Now new official figures reveal that UK agencies monitored 439,000 telephones and email addresses in a 15 month period between 2005 and 2006. The Interception of Communications Commissioner is seeking the right for agencies to be allowed to monitor the communications of Members of Parliament as well, something which has been forbidden since the 1960s. It must be that it is bringing their numbers down: on the law of averages they should be monitoring at least 5 of the MPs."

Journals

JPMH has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>