OhPlz writes: Back in 2006, a resident of New Hampshire's second largest city was arrested while at the police station attempting to file a complaint against officers. His crime? He had video tape evidence of the officers' wrongdoings. According to the police, that's wiretapping.
After world wide attention, the police dropped the charges. His complaint was found to be valid, but the evidence never saw the light of day.
Well, guess what? Round two. There are differing reports, but again the police arrested Mr. Gannon and again, they seized his video camera. This time it's "falsifying evidence" because he tried to hand off the camera, most likely to protect its contents.
Once again, if the police are free to videotape us, why aren't we free to videotape them? If there's the potential of police wrongdoing, how is it that the law permits the police to seize the evidence?
epee1221 writes: Several security professionals released a paper (PDF) raising objections to the DNS filtering mandated by the proposed PROTECT-IP Act. The measure allows courts to require Internet service providers to redirect or block queries for a domain deemed to be infringing on IP laws. ISPs will not be able to improve DNS security using DNSSEC, a system for cryptographically signing DNS records to ensure their authenticity, as the sort of manipulation mandated by PROTECT-IP is the type of interference DNSSEC is meant to prevent. The paper notes that a DNS server which has been compromised by a cracker would be indistinguishable from one operating under a court order to alter its DNS responses. The measure also points to a possible fragmenting of the DNS system, effectively making domain names non-universal, and the DNS manipulation may lead to collateral damage (i.e. filtering an infringing domain may block access to non-infringing content). It is also pointed out that DNS filtering does not actually keep determined users from accessing content, as they can still access non-filtered DNS servers or directly enter the blocked site's IP address if it is known.
A statement by the MPAA disputes these claims, arguing that typical users lack the expertise to select a different DNS server and that the Internet must not be allowed to "decay into a lawless Wild West."
Paul Vixie, a coauthor of the paper, elaborates in his blog.
suraj.sun writes: Verizon Tells Customer To Get A Lawyer & A Subpoena To Get An Itemized Bill:
A woman, who called Verizon to try to find out about the $4.19 she was being charged for six local calls, was told by Verizon reps that the only way it would provide her an itemized bill was to get a lawyer and have the lawyer get a subpoena to force Verizon to disclose the information.
Instead, the woman went to court (by herself) and a judge told Verizon to hand over the itemized bill info.
It is a basic matter of fair business practice that a consumer should be able to contact a utility about a charge on a bill and learn what the charge is for and learn that the charge was correctly applied. The only verification that Verizon's witness could offer that a charge like [the customer's] $4.19 measured use charge was accurate and billed correctly was her faith in the accuracy of Verizon's computer system. The only way that Verizon would offer any information about a past charge in response to a consumer inquiry was to require that customer to hire a lawyer and subpoena their own usage information. By no reasonable standard could this be considered reasonable customer service.
The judge has also suggested Verizon should be fined $1,000 for its failure here, and that suggestion will be reviewed by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
HansonMB writes: Remember how much of a pain SimCity was? Now imagine trying to play it in Russian. Researchers at MIT have created machine-learning systems that are able to analyze instruction manuals to help them beat video games. By correlating terms they come across in gameplay with those found in the manuals, these MIT programs can teach themselves human language in order to win.
An anonymous reader writes: Last week, the Daily Mail published a story about some monkeys in Indonesia who happened upon a camera and took some photos of themselves. The photos are quite cute. However, Techdirt noticed that the photos had copyright notices on them, and started a discussion over who actually held the copyright in question, noting that, if anyone did, the monkeys had the best claim, and certainly not the photographer. Yet, the news agency who claimed copyright issued a takedown to Techdirt! When presented with the point that its unlikely that news agency, Caters News, holds a legitimate copyright, the agency told Techdirt it didn't matter. Techdirt claims that using the photos for such a discussion is a clear case of fair use, an argument that Caters has so far ignored.
When I worked on Yellow Brick Road in Mentor Ohio, I named them from Wizard of Oz places and characters. I use to run a domain called disgruntled-employees.org there was names for my servers like postal , militant, perturbed, discord etc... Naming servers was always genre specific.
FatLittleMonkey writes: Science Fiction author, David Brin, wonders whether the US tax code, described by President Obama as a "10,000-page monstrosity", could be dramatically simplified. No, he's not trying to get support a libertarian wet-dream "Flat Tax", this is about using computers to... shuffle the existing system.
"I know a simple way the sheer bulk of the tax code could be trimmed by perhaps 70% or more, without much political pain or obstructionism!... it should be easy to create a program that will take the tax code and experiment with zeroing-out dozens, hundreds of provisions while sliding others upward and then showing how these simplifications would affect, say, one-hundred representative types of taxpayers... Let the program find the simplest version of a refined tax code that leaves all 100 taxpayer clades unhurt. If one group loses a favorite tax dodge, the system would seek a rebalancing of others to compensate. No mere human being could accomplish this, but I have been assured that a computer could do this in a snap."
With all the talk about Open Government, perhaps the computer code currently used in tax modelling could be released to the wider community, leading eventually to a Folding@Home type project.
saccade.com writes: "Telehack.com has meticulously re-created the Internet as it appeared to a command line user over a quarter century ago. Drawing on material from Jason Scott'sTextFiles.com, the text-only world of the 1980's appears right in your browser.
If you want to show somebody what the Arpanet looked like (you didn't call it the "Internet" until the late '80s) this is it.
Using the "finger" command and seeing familiar names from decades ago (some, sadly, ghosts now) sends a chill down your spine."
.. LA School districts like their masses unwashed and uneducated , poorly read and empty in the head. Unburdened by the weight of books , philosophy and lofty ideas like thought and the recognition that one is being screwed.
When I was in school, I learned more in the library then in class. the teachers in the class were more interested in the monotone regurgitation of their lesson plan then the underpinnings as to why this works the way it does. I learned that in the library.
fysdt writes: "Recently published research shows that coffee drinkers enjoy not only the taste of their coffee but also a reduced risk of cancer with their cuppa. More detailed research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Breast Cancer Research shows that drinking coffee specifically reduces the risk of antiestrogen-resistant estrogen-receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer."
lukehopewell1 writes: "Aussie telco giant Telstra has won a marathon court battle against Amazon in a local patents court over the legitimacy of its "1-click buy" patent, a method of purchase that speeds up customer transactions.
The delegate of the Commissioner of Patents, Ed Knock, found this week that Amazon's 1-click buy facility "lacks novelty [and] an inventive step", making Amazon's claim unpatentable.
Amazon's patent application included 141 claims, 60 of which were deemed invalid by the court. To be successful, a patent must not contain any invalid claims.
Knock acknowledged, however, that Amazon's patent application did include some original material and granted the online retailer 60 days to amend the application in compliance with patent regulations.
Amazon has been ordered to pay Telstra's legal costs in the matter."