feeds | grep links > Rare Earth Minerals May Become Rarer, 3D Acceleration Coming to DOSBox, and More

  • China halting rare earth mineral shipments to the US
    Slashdot links to a cluser of stories around China’s trade decision against the US, following a similar decision regarding exporting these critical minerals to Japan. A bit of recent listener feedback has me mulling over post-abundance computing, this seems to be suggestive of future concerns. Like news of limited recycling of these materials, I also wonder at the positive possibility of making the production of electronics more environmentally responsible and durable.
  • DOSBox to get emulated 3D accelerator card
    I used DOSBox to get an old game I still had on CD-ROM working a couple of years ago. Slashdot has news of the developers looking to add a “complete and faithful” emulation of the core chipset of the old 3dfx Voodoo Graphics card. I had one of those and it figures into some very fond memories of LAN parties back in the madness of the height of the dot-com bubble back in the nineties.
  • Bendable memory from nanowire transistors , Technology Review
  • Feds forced to admit it is legal to photograph federal buildings, BoingBoing
  • Google rolls out Chrome 7, Slashdot

TCLP 2010-07-18 News

This is news cast 219, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, an admission of a mistake around correctly observing the licenses of some works I used after I stopped using the non-commercial clause in the license for the podcast. The net effect should be none to you, the listener, but it seemed like a good teaching moment and a reminder that as easy as Creative Commons makes it to understand their licenses, that doesn’t prevent making honest mistakes. Thanks, Randal.

This week’s security alerts are Mozilla blocking an add on that was nabbing passwords (via ZDNet) including how the backdoor was discovered and a crack that could affect libraries used to implement OAuth and OpenID.

In this week’s news Android App Inventor, in keeping with Google’s spirit of developer inclusion vs. Apple’s puzzling decisions, promises creating apps without coding though some interesting questions remain, a comic book on digital civil rights in Europe produce by EDRi among others that I think would be a good companion to Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother“, NSA whistle blower exhausted all official channels to raise a complaint, and consider the question of search neutrality and whether co-opting the rhetoric of net neutrality is wise.

Following up this week European ACTA negotiators update the EP in secret and ACTA is coming down to a fight between the US and the EU.

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EFF Defends Third Party Access to Social Data from Criminalization

I am not sure how I missed the news of Facebook’s suit against Power Ventures. Maybe I am going Facebook-blind from all the stories about its continuing efforts to erode away all of our expectations of privacy.

As EFF explains, Power Ventures makes a social messaging and info aggregator, a class of tools often popular among power users. It isn’t surprising that Facebook doesn’t like the siphoning of the personal data it holds on behalf of the user into some external dashboard. It isn’t clear whether Power Ventures uses blessed APIs or scrapes Facebook pages but that is immaterial to their complaint.

Facebook is trying to contend that the tool is a violation of its terms of services and should be considered a criminal act under California’s computer crime law. The former is a reasonable claim but the later is terribly dangerous if acknowledged by the judge.

Even the simple use of the automatic login feature of most browsers would constitute a violation under Facebook’s theory, since those services are “automatic means” for logging in. But the risk for users is even broader. If any violation of terms of use is criminal, users who shave a few years off their age in their profile, claim to be single when they are married, or change jobs or addresses without updating Facebook right away would also have violated the criminal law.

There have been some good precedents establishing limits on this sort of movement to criminalize an action already adequately covered under contract law. Unfortunately I think there are as many mixed rulings. There certainly has been a lot of argument around pressing for claims under computer crime laws, generally allowed by the vagueness of such laws. The waters are far muddier than they really should be.

EFF has filed an amicus brief to that effect. They actually go further than I think is strictly necessary, claiming that users have a right to their personal data. I agree but the priority is preventing the criminalization of exercising that right regardless of any civil breach of contract claim.

TCLP 2010-04-11 News

This is news cast 211, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, thanks to new donor this week, David.

This week’s security alerts are a new site collecting privacy and security info on apps and services and a vulnerability in WebKit’s handling of the blink tag.

In this week’s news reverse engineering facial recognition to develop dazzle camouflage (a story I also wrote up on the web site), asking whether IBM broke its open source patent pledge with their response and clarifying commentary from a couple of knowledgeable folks, a new memory management technique that could boost performance for multiple cores, and contending format shifting a book you own is ethical with supporting and dissenting responses.

Following up this week court rules against FCC in Comcast case barring neutrality regulation on ancillary authority but not through other means and the Digital Economy Bill has been passed including what we should do now.

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Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

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Following Up for the Week Ending 3/28/2010

Eleventh Circuit Constricts 4th Amendment Protection of Email

Interpreting the tenuous basis for privacy protection drawn out of the 4th Amendment is certainly challenging in the post-network world. Case law on protections, or lack thereof, for different forms on online communications is all over the map.

According to The Volokh Conspiracy, the 11th Circuit has made a very narrow ruling in a recent case that will no doubt constrict any such protections further in that jurisdiction. Orin Kerr has some excellent analysis supporting his contention that this ruling is incorrect.

The ruling is in response to a defendant’s claim, after dismissal of the original case, that the acquisition of his emails from his ISP via subpoena violated his 4th Amendment rights.

I encourage you to read Kerr’s argument but in short, the court ruled that once a copy of your email stored with an intermediate third party is delivered to the end recipient, all copies become fair game. Kerr contends a better ruling would require that different copies (ISP’s intermediate copies, intended recipients’ copies) be treated differently.

Following Up for the Week Ending 3/14/2010

TCLP 2010-03-07 News

This is news cast 208, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, a huge thank you to Chris Miller for his ongoing donation. Also inspired by my latest appearance on The Secret Lair to discuss free content and supporting artists, some brief thoughts on my own views towards the show and earning something from it.

This week’s security alerts are a several OpenSSL flaw and research on statistical attacks on security questions. I recommend treating security answers where they are required like passwords, storing them in a password vault and securely, randomly generating them.

In this week’s news a fan sequel to King’s Quest is shutting down (the original publisher playing a large role in Steven Levy’s “Hackers” which I reviewed previously), a hearing was schedule last week to discuss internet freedom abroad including circumvention though we might do well to apply the same standards at home, two storied about plugless brain-computer interfaces with a compelling first hand account of one, and Google search index to go real time.

Following up this week the USTR responds to Senator Wyden’s letter about ACTA with some good analysis and the problems with a revised censorship amendment to the DEB that now targets weblockers.

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Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

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House Renews Patriot Act Provisions

EFF notes that in the wake of a failed Senate effort to add much needed civil liberties reforms to provisions of the Patriot Act due to expire at the end of last year, the House has now passed renewal of these provisions largely unchanged. The EFF post has details on the problematic measures in question as well as pointing out a small silver lining, that the renewal is only good for one year, rather than four as originally proposed. That means we could see another concerted effort for reform as soon as the end of this year.