Federal Register Opens Its Data, Apple Reverses on Politically Charges App, And More

  • Apple approves political app if formerly rejected
    Via Daring Fireball. Not much explanation offered from the reversal, the author chooses to believe it was due to public pressure. It seems a bit of a devil’s bargain as one of the updates on their site says Apple insisted that critical statements about the approval process be removed from the app’s description in the store.
  • Federal Register opens up its data
    Google’s public policy blog is just one of those reporting this landmark event. I’ve bookmarked Felten’s discussion of FedThread to discuss further but I expect it will only be the first of many projects intended to take advantage of this new wealth of both current and historic data.
  • Q and A about the Federal Register
    An O’Reilly Radar piece by Public Resource’s own Carl Malamud that gives much more detail about the recent good news. Carl speaks directly to the CIO of the Government Printing Office and the Directory of the Office of the Federal Register.
  • Fear of failure stymying open source in the government
    An intriguing thought shared by Glyn Moody from an event in which he recently participated. The implication, to me, is that commercial, closed software is perceived to be less risky and hence easier to justify to tax payers. I do like that the quote calls out failure as a necessary component to experimentation and innovation. I think it is an interesting challenge regardless of open or closed source, but definitely can see how it fear of failing would chill adoption of open source in particular.
  • Thawte ending its web of trust, personal email certificates
    According to their FAQ, they are citing the cost of continuing to offering personal email certificates backed by their web of trust. I think the implication is clear, that it is also due to lack of interest. Do you know anyone using one of their email certificates?
  • Royal Mail sends nasty gram to Wikleaks
    Glyn Moody does an excellent job following up this almost inevitable story after the postal database was posted a while ago. Glyn also digs into the sui generis rights the EU decided to grant over databases, in particular the near zero net effect doing so actually had.
  • Palm fixes developer program, encourages open source
    I am glad to see my skepticism deflated by this Ars story posted by Ryan Paul. This confirms Sarah’s comments on my link to jwz’s story and includes a lot of positive details like some respectable hires by Palm from the larger community.
  • FSF files amicus brief for Bilski
    PJ has her usual, excellent analysis at Groklaw. With briefs filed by RedHat and the SFLC, it was almost a foregone conclusion there would be one from the FSF, too. The brief adds to the strong anti-patent rhetoric with some compelling examples of software in use by the government that would be adversely affected by a damaging patent claim against free software interests.
  • Eolas files patent claims against big tech companies
    As Jacqui Cheung explains at Ars, Eolas won a much older claim against Microsoft and had that ruling ultimately upheld on appeal. They are apparently now feeling their oats and targeting the likes of Apple and Google.
  • Calling shenanigans on Fox’s coverage of the PATRIOT Act reform
    The EFF has links to some fact checking by the CATO Institute’s Julian Sanchez, including a bit of video covering what the news outlet is getting wrong. The EFF post has links to coverage around the web if you want more information for better context, too.

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