Week in Review for 3/1/2009

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  • Explanation of the underlying bug causing recent internet routing problems
    This is actually a good example of the risk of human built networks altogether. It is difficult to write error free code for one machine but when you network two or more together, then you start having to deal with things that act as nothing so much as a form of machine herd immunity.
  • Internet safety act plagued with poor definition of ISP
    Once again the language around communications service provider could be interpreted to include open, home wireless access points. It looks like the bill, introduced as a House and a Senate version, lacks bipartisan support so may stall. Still, when will Congress learn to craft better language around commercial providers rather than individuals given that the latter makes enforcement impossible.
  • Data retention bills return
    This is a more detailed analysis by PK’s Sherwin Siy on the new internet safety bill, versions of which were introduced in the House and Senate. Siy focuses more on the data retention requirements than the potential risk of home wifi routers getting snared.
  • Nokia ends its support for Qt Java
    Ryan has the story at Ars. It sounds as simple as he makes it out though it echoes of the death of the Cocoa-Java bridge. I am sure Sun is fine with the move as they are trying desperately to compete with JavaFX.
  • Feature rich FF 3.1 demo at SCALE
    Again thanks to Ryan at Ars. Sounds like a technology preview, aimed at developers. Lots to love here, so when are we getting 3.1, already?
  • BASH 4.0 released
    Sounds like some nice improvements for inveterate shell scripters, such as myself. I will wait for my distros to pick it up, as the article suggests, since 3.x is working well enough for me at the moment.
  • EU targeting Skype for surveillance again
    Julian’s piece at Ars points out the infamous case of German authorities using a trojan for eavesdropping. This sounds like more official wiretap interface nonsense. Skype, for its part, claims cooperation despite also having made claims in the past that eavesdropping is just not technically feasible.
  • India using patents to protect cultural heritage
    This is wrong for so many reasons. The way to preserve cultural heritage is to share it, not to try to lock it up legally. Patents, even if they made sense here which I don’t think they do, would chill use of this knowledge, not ensure its continuation as a cultural form. In their defense, this seems more of a response to Western teachers applying IP locks than an original idea of their own.
  • New copyright bill threatens open access to public research
    This bill only serves the interests of publishers. The current system seems like a reasonable enough compromise, especially since publicly funded research really deserves to be as much as a publicly accessible good as we can make it.
  • Music lobbyists push Congress to tax radio stations more
    Masnick has the sordid details at Techdirt. The group in question is already under suspicion for accepting contributions from groups that are not allowed to lobby. The rights they are claiming need to be burdened are the performance rights that have been traditional exempt from radio royalties, a system that has arguably worked well as a compromise for decades.
  • HerdictWeb officially launches
    This is a web oriented initiative using the principles of Herdict. It specifically is looking at issues of filtering. I especially like the nice intro video, kind of off beat and humorous without diluting the idea behind the project.
  • Norway gets voluntary net neutrality
    Nate Andersion discusses the caveats, though, at Ars. There are key limits that make this less effective than desired, based on similar principles adopted here in the US by the FCC. It is still noteworthy that this is being led by among others some ISPs.
  • Mounting HDFS using FUSE
    This seems like a pretty logical admixture of these two projects. So much so that apparently what Makezone points to is a list of such FUSE modules for accessing the Hadoop distributed storage as a user space file system.
  • Some Canadian ISPS open to three strikes rule
    I think this is unprecedented, what Geist describes. Essentially the owner of a large ISP is arguing for 3 strikes and policing their customers, otherwise considered a very bad and costly move from a liability standpoint.
  • Rogue archivist campaigns to head GPO
    Malamud has a considerable history doing whatever he can to liberate government information and make it available online. I’d dearly love to see what he could do from the other side of the desk, possibly in a role setting policy, definitely implementing it.
  • CC releases public domain friendly, “Zero” license
    Jonathan at Plagiarism Today clarifies that the CC0 tooling has been in testing for a few months. It is a system for waiving copyrights, with some notably limits around moral rights in countries that recognize them. CC0 improves international support beyond the CC’s original public domain dedication.
  • CDA is dead but states are trying to revive it
    Both of the cases discussed involve defamatory speech. We already have adequate laws for defamatory speech. While takedown rules and ISP indemnity seem like OK ideas, erosion of anonymous free speech is never worth it.

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