feeds | grep links > RIAA Says DMCA Not Working (Hard Enough for Them), Jury Invalidates EFF’s Top Patent, Proposed Apple Spyware Goes Too Far, and More

  • Apple seeking to patent spyware and traitorware
    I have to agree with the incredulous tone in EFF’s analysis of Apple’s patent application. This goes well beyond anti-theft measures, none of the included techniques are worth it for a phone no matter how expensive or the risk of a breach of personal info. Simple encryption would be a more suitable solution for the latter and insuring the device if it is that important the former. I am really far more concerned about the potential privacy implications than Apple using this as some sort of spite based DRM to increase the pain of jail breaking a device despite it now being authorized under the DMCA section 2101 rulemaking.
  • Jury invalidates one of EFF’s “Most Wanted” patents
  • Google Marketplace DRM cracked
    As the Register explains, the break was relatively simple predicated on the ease of de-compiling Java bytecode. To be more specific, as they clarify if you read the article, the DRM itself actually has not be broken but the application code that uses the simple affirmative or negative response from the platform can be re-engineered to essentially ignore the secure check. Each app would then have to be broken in turn but the break would hold for all copies of the cracked version.
  • The RIAA may have hurt its own arguments against innocent infringement
  • RIAA pushing to eliminate DMCA safe harbors
    Mike Masnick at Techdirt does an excellent job digging out what might otherwise be a confusing claim made in the course of this story, that the RIAA doesn’t think the DMCA is working. Clearly, what they think is a failure is the small and flawed free speech safety valve of safe harbors from liability for ISPs. Their reasoning tends to the absurd, that because the trade association cannot monitor enough traffic to reach whatever its current goals are in curbing infringement through DMCA takedown requests, they think the law should be re-written to directly deputize ISPs to do their enforcement work for them.

Following Up for the Week Ending 5/16/2010

feeds | grep links > Oversharing Risks on Facebook, Safe Harbor Victory, and Google e-Books to Launch this Summer

  • Consumer Reports warns of risks of oversharing on Facebook
    As Sarah Perez explains at RWW, the source, a mainstream media outlet, is the most remarkable part of this story. Consumer Reports’ findings are compelling nonetheless and I hope further the public pressure of Facebook to end its attack on our onlineprivacy.
  • RapidShare wins key victory on copyright filtering
    Nate Anderson at Ars Technica has the details. The ruling on appeal hinges on the fact that the file locker service doesn’t share files uploaded publicly, unlike most p2p file sharing applications. Not only did the court hold RapidShare could not be held liable for infringement but that they also did not need to run the filename filtering scheme being pressed by rightsholders.
  • Google’s e-book store to launch this Summer
    RWW doesn’t have much more detail beyond what was revealed in the original announcement of Editions. The emphasis is on the date, soon enough they may be able to capitalize on the interest being driven by Apple’s ebook offering.

AFACT Appealing iiNet Ruling

Reader Darryl, who first alerted me to the safe harbor preserving ruling in Australia, also sent me an update about the organization representing the studios pursuing an appeal. Torrent Freak has some more details, encapsulating the irreconcilable views of both parties, each of whom believes opposite effects will follow from it for safe harbors.

The original ruling here was pretty clear but I don’t know enough about the appeals court in question to even guess how things may go from here.

Following Up for the Week Ending 2/14/2010

Post Snowpacolypseageddon Catch Up

Here are the stories I was going to read up on and cover for the news cast that the mid-Atlantic blizzard this past weekend swallowed.

Slashdot had a piece on de-anonymizing social network data. I imagine this is of a piece with research by Ohm and others. Bruce Schneier also had a piece on anonymity that I actually did get a chance to skim. He is responding to the suggestion of mandatory identification in the form of a sort of operator’s license for the internet. This was one of the wrinkle’s of Clinton’s speech in the wake of the China-Google incident a few weeks back and also Mundie at Microsoft calling for an Internet Driver’s License in so many words. Not surprisingly, Schneie does an excellent job of explaining not only why such a scheme would not work but why it is a bad idea at its very core.

The big story last week was the ruling in favor of the Australian ISP, iiNet. Everyone picked this story up and then some. This is of course a critical protection of safe harbors for ISPs. It stands as a key precedent for some and hopefully a strong example for others to continue to alleviate ISPs third party liabilities as long as they adhere to the established bounds of existing safe harbor provisions. It also re-inforces the need to stall or stop ACTA as one of the things it threatens to change are those very safe harbors.

The last story is a physics of computing piece, Ars describes the potential of news research in graphene transistors. 100Ghz? Even if that is still some years away and with any kind of caveat it would be one heck of a speed bump over where silicon has practically maxed out.

That along with the belated link dumps of security alerts and follow ups catches me up on what I missed getting out while power was out. I have a few more stories in my queue to catch me up on today’s blogging. If I go dark again around mid-week, it will be a result of us losing power again. The forecast keeps getting worse but there is a chance the above ground lines around here will gold. We had nasty winds over the weekend that are not going to be a part of the next bit of weather. I may be deluding myself but I also like to think that whatever was going to come down has already hit a line and in the course of restoring power, they hacked away anything merely leaning on the lines.

Wish us luck, we are as prepared as we can be with the roads still a mess. We have food, cooking fuel and heating fuel. I should be back on my regular schedule next week at the latest.

More on Palm’s Handling of Open Source Apps, Privacy as a Social not a Technical Problem, and More

  • jwz on Palm’s app store changes
    His post is a bit of cold water. I am not sure on what basis he calls the alternate app store a 2nd class citizen, I am guess he is assuming that Palm will not promote or offer links to that store as much as their main catalog. Mostly I think he is right in pointing out that despite announced intentions, Palm didn’t fix his original problem and their proposed solution is still months away and more than a little vague.
  • Test of Australian disconnect law reaches court
    At Ars, Nate Anderson has the story. This issue is made a bit stickier by a liability safe harbor being today through the law to ISPs implementing a reasonable termination policy. Good on iiNet for challenging the film industry to provide proof rather than allegation before exercising such a policy.
  • Interview with Brian Kerighan
    This interview covers a lot of ground, exploring Kernighan’s thoughts on his role in the development and popularization of the C programming language, advice to young programmers, and comparing his experiences to the current state of programming.
  • Privacy as a social problem, not a technical one
    Professor Felten quotes from and comments on an excellent piece by Bob Blakley. It urges the re-framing of privacy not as a technical, control oriented issue but more of a social, transactional one. Felten urges caution in following this reasoning too far but generally this seems like a fruitful way to think about how to more responsibility build systems respecting user privacy.
  • Google’s other public library of orphan works
    This Wired piece by Kevin Poulsen would seem to urge some strong caution around Google’s curatorial capabilities for their newer project, Books, based on the poor experience of accessing the historical Usenet posts within their Groups project. Sadly, it seems like the issues preventing mining of this geek trove are unlikely to be fixed any time soon.

A Plausible Reason for Microsoft’s Open Source Attempts, A Broadcast Flag in the UK and More

  • Recent ruling shores up DMCA safe harbor
    David Kravets at Wired explains the ruling in the UMG v. Veoh suit, the second suit labeled against the video sharing site for the same issue. For its flaws, this is good evidence that at least the DMCA safe harbors can work as an acceptable compromise. Even better, it affirms that as long as the safe harbors are operated, services are not required to actively filter copyrighted content, an activity that has repeatedly squashed fair use where it has been undertaken.
  • More on advanced usage tracking techniques
    The EFF has a pretty good survey of the state of the art, going beyond traditional browser cookies. There are links to research specifically within the last year, especially on Flash cookies which are resistant to user control. This is the first time I’ve seen a Firefox plugin recommended, though, to try to help users wrest some control back from advertisers. This is the first of several parts, given how well linked and cited this is, I am looking forward to the future parts.
  • A broadcast flag may be coming for the UK
    The EFF explains about a consultation held at the request of the BBC that seeks to consider the question of content protection. The EFF reminds us of the risks of such a protection scheme, seen here in the US as a broadcast flag, in terms of stifling innovation. The proposed scheme here is a bit backhanded, an obscured compression of channel listing metadata, but the intent is obviously the same.
  • Novell launches MonoTouch to bring .NET to the iPhone
    At Ars, Ryan Paul explains how Novell got around the constraints on alternate runtimes and JIT compilers. I am actually a bit conflicted by this story. On the one hand, it is opening up the iPhone to alternate technologies and development environments making it more accessible. But on the other, it is .NET of which I am no fan mostly because of my concern that Microsoft will yank the rug from under Mono eventually.
  • Explaining Microsoft’s, Google’s open tactics as self interest
    I initially balked at this piece from Matt Asay as I think he was starting to give too much credit to Microsoft. He then took it in an interesting direction, though, proposing a theory for why both Google and Microsoft would make moves seemingly counter to their core business. There is a certain poetry to the notion that by explicitly giving customers support for the choice to leave, they are less likely to actually do so.