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Comment: My surreal experience getting 501(c)(3) status (Score 1) 356

by jsm (#44103597) Attached to: The IRS vs. Open Source

I (like many) have had a nightmarish experience trying to get 501(c)(3) status for the open-source NGO I've started, a process that has taken over 2 years now. I could probably write a book about the experience. The IRS tax-exemption process is out-of-touch and ineffective at best, and political and corrupt at worst. There are many anecdotes I could share, but here are a couple:

We met with Lois Lerner and members of her team about our tax-exempt status, and the whole meeting was about the dysfunctional relationship between the IRS and another USG department, not a word about the merits of the case.

At one point in a recent meeting with the IRS, they said my anti-censorship software could be used to spread child porn. I asked, well, what if 20 years ago the Web itself was being created by an NGO seeking tax-exempt status? Would the IRS block it because the Web could be used to spread child porn? The IRS lawyers indicated a probable yes.

It looks like the recent IRS "scandal" has been a political fabrication (cherry-picked transcripts, false insinuations against Obama), but I hope it leads to a complete overhaul of the tax-exemption process. My experience makes me wonder how many great projects have died on the vine waiting for their tax-exempt status from the IRS.

FYI, for 501(c)(3) status, there is a list of "exempt purposes" that qualify, as interpreted by IRS lawyers with a mountain of very opaque precedent. Two of the exempt purposes that open-source software *should* qualify under are "scientific" (computer science) and "educational" (open-source software teaches programming). But to the out-of-touch IRS, open-source is a "new" concept, and so they are overly cautious.

Comment: Re:Not completely nonsensical... (Score 1) 186

by jsm (#34080498) Attached to: How Not To Design a Protocol

Thanks for this thoughtful response. But:

5. Indeed, at least AJAX enables somewhat sane masking of this, but the only-one-request-per-response character of the protocol means a lot of things cannot be done efficiently. If HTTP had allowed arbitrary server-side HTTP responses for the duration of a persistent http connection, that would have greatly alleviated the inefficiencies that AJAX methods strive to mask.

Well... what's wrong with using HTTP 1.1 persistent connections? They do allow multiple arbitrary HTTP responses over a single connection, efficiently.

I'm coming here late, but after reading the comments I still don't see the problems with HTTP. There does seem to be a lot of misunderstanding of the protocol and its history, though.


+ - Rice University sells college radio station-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this week, Rice University made public its plans to sell the broadcast FM license, tower and frequency of its longtime college radio station, KTRU 91.7. The station has been student-run for more than 40 years and plays a diverse, eclectic slate of programming. The university described KTRU as an "underutilized asset" and stands to gain $9.5M from the deal, which will give Houston yet another NPR station."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:question (Score 1) 265

by jsm (#33243584) Attached to: Google Responds To Net Neutrality Reviews

Land lines are laid with significant cost to our "commons", i.e. rights-of-way, etc. But similarly, the EM spectrum, and therefore wireless bandwidth, is a part of our commons too.

Don't know if you were getting at this, but wireless companies have certainly *not* made their whole business with no cost to the rest of us. It's perfectly reasonable to regulate them.


UK Culture Secretary Wants Website Ratings, Censorship 377

Posted by Soulskill
from the since-the-aussies-seem-so-excited-about-it dept.
kaufmanmoore writes "UK culture secretary Andy Burnham calls for a website rating system similar to the one used for movies in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. He also calls for censorship of the internet, saying, 'There is content that should just not be available to be viewed.' Other proposals he mentions in his wide-ranging calls for internet regulation are 'family-friendly' services from ISPs, and requiring takedown notices to be enforced within a specific time for sites that host content. Mr. Burnham wants to extend his proposals across the pond and seeks meetings with the Obama administration."

Vietnam Imposes New Blogging Restrictions 206

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the people-never-learn dept.
GMAW is one of many to mention that the Vietnam government has approved a new set of regulations aimed at bloggers. The new restrictions ban bloggers from discussing certain subjects that the government deems sensitive or inappropriate. Not only are the topics limited, but bloggers are being directed to only write about issues that directly impact their personal lives. "The rules, which were approved Dec. 18, attempt to rein in Vietnam's booming blogosphere. It has become an alternative source of news for many in the communist country, where the media is state-controlled. The new rules require Internet companies that provide blogging platforms to report to the government every six months and provide information about bloggers on request."

Australian Government Censorship 'Worse Than Iran' 516

Posted by timothy
from the but-the-people-there-are-so-nice dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Australian Government's plan to Censor the Internet is producing problems for ISPs, with filters causing speeds to drop by up to 86% and falsely blocking 10% of safe sites. The Government Minister in charge of the censorship plan, Conservative Stephen Conroy, has been accused of bullying ISP employees critical of his plan: 'If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd Labor Government is going to disagree.'" Read on for more, including an interesting approach to demonstrating the inevitable collision of automated censorship with common sense.

Comment: Re:Silver lining... (Score 1) 148

by jsm (#23686077) Attached to: Behind China's Great Firewall
If that news report was the recent article on PBS' News Hour, then don't forget that those students they interviewed were hand-picked by the Chinese authorities for the interview.

Not that it wasn't informative. Maybe there are many who share their view. One interesting thing the students said was that non-Chinese people don't appreciate how much change the Chinese government *has* allowed, how much different it is now than it was. While I hope that's true, I'd counter that the Chinese government hasn't changed voluntarily, they've been forced to by modern global changes, or else they'd miss out on the huge benefits of e.g. the Internet.

If it has syntax, it isn't user friendly.