Quick News Links for Week Ending 6/15/2008

  • Britannica experimenting with user contributed content
    Their announced system will be non-anonymous and favor experts. It will be tightly controlled, with editorial review. It looks like mostly they are trying to address criticism of not being able to update as quickly as Wikipedia without giving up their professional review and credentials.
  • Columbia prof, Tim Wu, to take over chair of media reform organization
    Wu is a progressive thinker, speaking out on issues I care about. He makes a good case for why media reform is just as important and touches on many of the same concerns.
  • Virgin Media to start filtering
    This is at the behest of a trade association, BPI. The ISP will send threatening letters but may eventually start disconnecting users. BPI, among others, wants a three strikes rule, with a permanent disconnect after three incidents.
  • Inside the RIAA and MediaSentry
    Some of the highlights are they appear to target only the most popular songs, I am guessing because the RIAA thinks these have the most value. MediaSentry does download songs, at least on LimeWire, which muddies the question of whether that download is authorized and/or the sole basis for an infringement complaint.
  • A year of the Copyright Alliance
    Not much to comment on other than their own propaganda and slippery use of membership numbers.
  • The effect of open source on the market for developer tools
    This is mostly an extended ad for a Java IDE. The only interesting aspect is that the company made the non-collaborative version free because it is little better than all of the free source code editors out there. They have a non-free version they feel offers more than free tools, which gives the lie, a little, to the interviewee’s claim that the tool market is dead.
  • New service activation impinges on iPhone unlockers
    It’s not a technical measure, its procedural. Resellers will be forcing consumers to buy contracts or pay more for pay as you go versions. It doesn’t mean that those not considering cost but just free as in speech concerns will be left out in the cold. It just raises a monetary barrier.
  • Renewed push against child porn may resuscitate CDA’s corpse
    This is not a bill, but an accord with the NY state AG. It goes directly against the safe harbor established under the CDA. Some ISPs are going further than asked and other forms of scope creep are the real danger against other forms of speech that are protected. Child porn enjoys no free speech protections.
  • Google supports privacy bill
    Privacy advocates are still critical. Many states are considering more aggressive laws that could be gutted by a federal bill. Google has repeatedly faced criticism for its privacy practices, so this may be a make nice move rather than genuine support of consumer privacy.
  • Spyware in meat space
    The problem comparing digital billboards to Nielsen and the like is that the boards are in public spaces. This is also why the question about their ability, whether they use it or not, to store faces is so hotly debated.
  • Instilling devices with digital manners
    The article states the issue well. Focusing on norms is a better way to accomplish what the patent hints at. Having technology react to location by altering device function is too easily abused on one hand and too easily circumvented on the other to be genuinely useful for anything.
  • Examining LifeLock more closely
    Not surprisingly, Schneier’s analysis is clear and helps identify where some of the other coverage about LifeLock may have gotten it wrong. Regardless, he is suggesting that their service is moot more because the genuine risk is so small.
  • Interview with Douglas Hofstadter on the future
    Given the recent links to discussion of the singularity, this is an interesting counter point. As the man puts it himself, he is more an optimist about the complexity of the human mind than a pessimist about our ability to mimic or translate it.
  • Another attack on quantum crypto
    The research mentioned apparently shows how an imperfect, non-descructive quantum copy can be useful, punching a hole in the assumed unassailability of quantum crypto based on the thinking that only a perfect, destructive copy would be useful.

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