Wednesday, October 20, 2004

They Stole Our Revolution, Now We're Stealing It Back

An excellent essay on the word 'hacker' and what it means in a free society.

The also excellent discussion on /.

John Stewart going off on Crossfire.

And the Future and It's Enemies Virginia Postrel...

These things are related towards what the real choices for the future are. I wish I had more time, but I'm late for work.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Another update on Indymedia

This story gets weirder and weirder (from a legal perspective among others)...So the hosting company, Rackspace, supposedly told indymedia that they got the ORIGNAL hard drives back with no explanation.

I can't help but think that this sort of international co-operation with no accountability validates the principles upon which indymedia was founded.

FTC's first spyware case

Press Release


Cheers to the FTC for using their broad, pre-existing power rather than asking Congress for new power. The FTC alleges that this company sold anti-spyware that was actually spyware itself, sounds pretty deceptive to me. Of course, I assume the defense will be consent by click-through EULA. I think NY still does the adhesion contract thing, if it does I would look for a settlement via a consent decree that pays back the profits and says we won't do this anymore.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

What would Claude Shannon Say?

My first response to Sen. Dayton shutting his office from now to Election Day was one of extreme anger. That it's unconscionable for a person serving the public to use his position to gain information, then use that information for his personal gain (to protect himself while leaving the public to suffer the consequences of Fed ineptitude). I sure wish I could see the information that lead the distinguished Senator to not accept the risk of being in DC.

After second thought, I still would like to see the information. But Sen. Dayton is making an effort to protect those under his control (his staff and constituents who may wish to visit him) which is laudable. After he made the decision that DC is unsafe, he could have either a) kept his mouth shut and carried on as usual or b) solely protected himself. Either of these reasons could have been justified by the tyrannical rationale of 'so long as Congress is safe, the country can continue'.

Now I'm left to parse out the signal from the noise. The Senator's quote is fascinating in the lingustic sense:

"I wouldn't advise them to come to Capitol Hill. I would not bring my two sons to the capitol between now and the election."

Now this is an oral conversation, Dayton first says 'don't come to the Hill', then the reporter would lead us to believe in the next sentence that Dayton would not bring his two sons to the 'capitol'. I'm confident that should read capital, as in all the DC. Why? Because he just said don't come to the Capitol, why would he repeat that in the very next sentence. Plus the conversation was oral (eg capitial and capitol are prounced the same for all but those who went the Julliard). This seems more reasonable to me. Either the reporter disagrees or the reporter is an idiot.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Update on Indymedia: Why are there still no facts??

I spent a few hours trying to find the text US-UK MLAT to no avail (oh how I miss lexis and westlaw. This is the cite Treaty Doc. 104-2, Exec. Rpt. 104-23.

I'm still trying to piece together some sort of consistent fact pattern, here's a dump of links

Indymedia's thread
Swiss story (translation in Indymedia thread) appears the most plausible. The gist seems to be that Italian and/or Swiss 'undercover' investigators of the G8 meeting in Genoa got their pictures posted on an Indymedia server. I'm not exactly sure what the Fed nexus is.
Guardian story
AFP story

Joi Ito's conclusion: know where your data resides.

To toot my own horn...I scooped drudge and volokh :P

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Making Title 17 (copyrights) more complicated

Public Knowlege has a nice summary of the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004.

Lessig calls it 'death by a thousand cuts'.

It seems like a pretty terrible bill (WTF do we need the FBI to spend their overstretched resources on protecting the content industry), but anyone familiar with Title 17 should be used to the byzantine structure that supposedly promotes progress of science .

I remember my patent prof parsing "to promote the progress of science and the useful arts...authors and inventors...writings and discoveries", so that the two sets are science, authors, writings:useful arts, inventors, discoveries. My question is whether anyone argues strict construction here? Perhaps non-scientific work has no Constitutional basis for CP. I guess the rejoinder is whether judges should be the arbiters of what a scientific work is, but it sounds like a question of fact to me.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Derrida is dead

He made the world more interesting.


A random quote from an laweekly intervew (via metafilter):

While I was growing up, I was regularly taken to a synagogue in Algiers, and there were aspects of Judaism I loved -- the music, for instance. Nonetheless, I started resisting religion as a young adolescent, not in the name of atheism, but because I found religion as it was practiced within my family to be fraught with misunderstanding. It struck me as thoughtless, just blind repetitions, and there was one thing in particular I found unacceptable: that was the way honors were dispersed. The honor of carrying and reading the Torah was auctioned off in the synagogue, and I found that terrible. Then when I was 13, I read Nietzsche for the first time, and though I didn't understand him completely, he made a big impression on me. The diary I kept then was filled with quotations from Nietzsche and Rousseau, who was my other god at the time. Nietzsche objected violently to Rousseau, but I loved them both and wondered, how can I reconcile them both in me?

300 pages from the TSA on "the no fly" lists

Friday, October 08, 2004

Update on Indymedia seizure

El Reg has part of the press release from Rackspace.

Apparently (though some indymedia outlets have said otherwise), FBI seized only servers in the UK using an MLAT. An MLAT allows LEAs (in this case, DoJ and probably the Home Office) to communicate directly with one another. It seems a bit odd that the Feds wouldn't let the Brits carry out the siezure.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Indy media servers raided by Feds...again

Best coverage looks like /.

Last time it was because they dared publish RNC delegates names. I wonder what it was this time. It must have been something interesting for simultaneous raid in the US and UK

discussion on metafilter...still no real explanation.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Order granting en banc of Councilman

U.S. v. Councilman holding that ISP did not violate the Wiretap Act in reading an account holder's email because the communication was no longer in transit.

Take you flag and shove it

Results of a busted lead...

When the Cali bill "banning foie gras" briefly appeared on Drudge, I was hoping to do a whole spiel on whether eating foie gras would be considered within an individual's right to liberty. Akin to whether a law forbidding the wearing of hats or prohibiting putting cream in coffee would be Constitutional.

But alas, I read SB 1520 and found that it only prohibits "feeding a duck or goose...more than a typical bird of the same species would consume voluntarily" and the sale of such delicassies.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Must have Bacon

In a story that could only be taken seriously inside the Beltway, Michael Kostiw withdraws himself for consideration as CIA ExecDirektor.

Why? Because he got caught shoplifitng $2.19 of bacon in 1981, prompting his resignation as a CIA case officer. First the surreal lunacy makes I wonder if this is really why his name was pulled. But assuming it's true, the only possible reason I can think of, for withdrawl is that a 10 year CIA case officer should be able to take a pack of bacon from a supermarket without getting caught.

Monday, October 04, 2004

A nice display of information

Cheers to an actual great use of Javascript

Plus I'm a bit of a map nerd anyway. Seems to be out of theMagic Lens project at Xerox PARC

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Looks like another terrible IP case...from Missouri

Davidson and Associates v. Internet Gateway et al Just gave it a quick once over...seems like the court thought the EULA controlled in prohibiting all sorts of hacking to VivendiBlizzard's games (like Diablo). engineered the game protocol, so that users could play on a network independent of Blizzard's. I wonder if there's an antitrust issue in there?

Lot's of righteous indignation at /.

11th Cir. adds to the bevy of Commerce Clause cases

11th Cir. opinion that there must be a nexus between interstate commerce and child pornography. (Crim and Federalism has a nice digest)

By my count, this is the fourth case that seriously challenges the Fed's ability to use the Commerce Clause to federalize any crime Congress sees fit.
Starting with US v. McCoy in May 2003, that intrastate, noncommercial possession of pictures deemed to be child porn makes the Federal Commerce hook unconstitutional

Then to US v. Stewart in November 2003, that intrastate, noncommercial, self-manufacture of a machine gun is not interstate commerce within the meaning of the Commerce Clause.

And finally, this term's hot ticket in the Supreme Court Ashcroft v. Raich that intrastate cultivation of marijuana for medical purpose is not interstate commerce.

You may have noticed that these three cases are from the 9th Cir....which is why it's nice to see another circuit come to the same conclusion.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Clarke, Schmidt, and Yoran...3 czars in 3 years

Amit Yoran (founder of Riptech) resigns as DHS cybersec chief

Is this job worthless?? impossible??? clueless?

Do you think the fact that he gave 1 day notice means anything?