While most American TV watchers and broadcasters are preparing for (fretting over) the long-planned DTV transition in February 2009, broadcasters along the U.S. southern border are requesting an exemption from shutting down their analog broadcasts--up to five years after the deadline. The House of Representatives, according to an article by HD Guru, has already passed the DTV Border Fix Act bill by unanimous consent.… Read more
A group of researchers from the University of Colorado and University of Washington could face both civil and criminal penalties for a research project in which they snooped on users of the Tor anonymous proxy network. Should federal prosecutors take interest in the project, the researchers could also face up to 5 years in jail for violating the Wiretap Act.
The team of two graduate students and three professors neither sought legal review of the project, nor ran it past the Human Subjects Committee at their university, putting them in a particularly dangerous position.
The academic paper, "Shining Light in Dark Places: Understanding the Tor Network&… Read more
The U.S. Department of Justice has been fighting an extended legal battle since 1998 to enforce a federal law that targets Web sites deemed "harmful to minors." On Tuesday, it lost again.
This week's ruling (PDF) by the Philadelphia-based Third Circuit Court of Appeals means Web site operators can continue to relax, at least for now, about the Child Online Protection Act being enforced against them. COPA includes criminal penalties, including fines and six months imprisonment, for anyone found guilty of violating it.
The court concluded that COPA "cannot withstand a strict scrutiny, vagueness, or … Read more
Attempts to bring a global warming bill up for debate were blocked in the Senate on Friday, derailing what would have been the first federal U.S. climate change legislation.
According to published reports, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes necessary to end a Republican-led filibuster.
Debate on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 has focused on the cost of throttling carbon dioxide emissions.
"It's a huge tax increase," said Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, from the coal state of Kentucky, according to an Associated Press story. Trading carbon emissions allowances, McConnell said, would produce &… Read more
After years of heated debate and lobbying, the Patent Reform Act of 2007, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and was scheduled for a Senate vote this session, has been taken off the Senate's calendar. It can be revived, but its momentum has effectively fizzled.
Apparently, the Senate has better things to do with its time.
At this point, I don't wish to rehash the issues of, or my viewpoint on, the Patent Reform Act. Besides, as I've said, both sides in the debate were after only their own self-interests. Such is life in a capitalist society. (I think that's a good thing.)
What does fascinate me, though, are the strange alliances the debate over patent reform created. The Coalition for Patent Fairness--a group of more than 150 high-tech and financial-services companies that included Adobe Systems, Apple, Cisco Systems, eBay, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, News Corp., Oracle, SAP, Time Warner, and virtually all the big banks--supported and lobbied heavily for the bill. … Read more
Some new intellectual property (IP) enforcement legislation passed the U.S. House yesterday by a wide margin. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been against the proposal since its inception, put out a release highlighting the silliness of creating a new presidential appointee (complete with official seal) specifically to oversee IP policy. But reading through the coverage of the bill, and wading through most of the bill itself, there's another part that seemed more alarming to me.
I've never studied law, but it looks like the bill allows the government to seize any computer used in the process … Read more
House overwhelmingly passes controversial Pro-IP Act http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/ 20080508-house-overwhelmingly-passes-controversial-pro-ip-act.html
Infringement ‘detrimental to the public health, safety’ http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/05/09/0029224
Windows XP SP3 sows havoc, users complain http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/ operatingsystems/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=207600950… Read more
The FBI has backed down on a secret request for information about a user of the Internet Archive digital library, thanks to a legal challenge from two prominent advocacy groups.
The case, which was brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the archive, dates to last year but only became public on Wednesday. That's because the type of request involved, known as a national security letter (NSL), is accompanied by a gag order that forbids the recipient from disclosing its existence or discussing it with anyone except his attorneys, who are … Read more
Microsoft leans toward a hostile bid http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120966628366460063.html
Xbox 360 Blu-ray console shipping by September? http://www.engadget.com/2008/05/02/ xbox-360-blu-ray-console-by-september/
Researchers design “malicious circuits,” warn of potential risk http://www.engadget.com/2008/05/01/ researchers-design-malicious-circuits-warn-of-potential-risk/
Popcorn Hour’s … Read more