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Comment Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (Score 1) 587

The main problem with the Illinois law is not that it limits free speech, but that it is ex-post facto sentencing.

No, it's not. From the text of the law (Public Act 096-0262):

[730 ILCS 5/3-3-7(a) ...] The conditions of every parole and mandatory supervised release are that the subject:
(7.12) if convicted of a sex offense [...definition location...] committed on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly, refrain from accessing or using a social networking website [...definition location...];

[730 ILCS 5/5-6-3(a)] The conditions of probation and of conditional discharge shall be that the person:
(8.9) if convicted of a sex offense [...definition location...] committed on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly, refrain from accessing or using a social networking website [...definition location...];

[730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1] (s) An offender placed on supervision for a sex offense [...definition location...] committed on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly shall refrain from accessing or using a social networking website [...definition location...].

There is nothing ex post facto about this law. It only applies to people who are convicted of crimes committed after the law takes effect.


Comment Re:DB indexed on the wrong key, obviously ... (Score 2, Insightful) 299

when a 1500 page bill lands on a congresscritter's desk 2-3 days before the vote, what do you expect?

I expect them to vote "No", on the grounds that they don't know whether it's a good bill or not. Sure, whoever gave them the document said it was a good bill, but a Congressman should know better than to trust another Congressman.


Comment Re:Imperial measurements are for song lyrics *only (Score 1) 901

"Driving speeds are in KM/H and distances in KM and meters, but western Canada was surveyed in miles, so we have mile roads, townships, acres, etc."

Fascinating... Canada has its own unique unit, the township, which apparently isn't in use anywhere else. In the US, a township is a political or organizational area which may be of any size. Actually, it looks like it is that way in much of Canada as well; it's only in a few provinces where "township" refers to a 6 mi × 6 mi square.


Comment Re:wow (Score 5, Informative) 483

"why is this coming up now?"

Because a recent novel trilogy—Crucible by David R. George, III—was based significantly on that episode (among others). The books came out in late 2006, and Harlan announced at that time that he was planning to sue Pocket Books/Paramount to either scrap the books or get gobs of money.

As for why it took two and a half years from "I'll sue!" to actually suing, I'd imagine that his lawyer(s) tried negotiating with Paramount/Pocket first.


Comment Re:Too right! (Score 1) 512

"It changes how they define planets. They have created a new piece technical legal jargon, 'planet.' All this means is that when you are talking to the government, and in the far-fetched situation where the word 'planet' comes up, you and the government are speaking a different language."

Actually, it means that astronomers and the Illinois government are speaking a different language. People are free to use the word "planet" as it's defined in the English language, and don't have to use it in the way that a small group of scientists use it, nor in the way that a small group of politicians use it.

If the Illinois government used the word "planet" around me, they'd be using it the same way that I do.


Comment Gmail crashed for me on January 1... (Score 1) 480

It may just be a coincidence, but my Gmail account became "disabled" on January 1. When I tried to log in the evening of the 1st, it came back with the message "Sorry, your account has been disabled. [?]". The question mark was a link to instructions on how to re-enable it, but those instructions are apparently out of date. They say that if your account is disabled, you can enter your username and password, and you'll be presented with a CAPTCHA; if you enter that, you'll be allowed to log in. However, I was never presented with a CAPTCHA, so I can't complete the steps.

Has this Gmail outage affected anybody else? Is this a repeat of the December 6th outage, or is it just me?


The Internet

Is Virtual Rape a Crime? 690

cyberianpan writes "Wired is carrying commentary on the story that Brussels police have begun an investigation into a citizen's allegations of rape in Second Life. For reasons of civil liberty & clarity we'd like to confine criminal law to physical offenses rather than thought crimes but already threats, menace & conspiracy count as crimes. Could we see a situation where our laws extend?"

Submission + - AT&T Yahoo to spam users once again

An anonymous reader writes: AT&T Yahoo, having captured and swallowed Pacbell, SBCGlobal, and dozens of other formerly independant ISPs and mail services, announced today after close of business that it will be introducing graphical advertisements in its user's emails. No distinction is made between paid users and free account users, nor between POP/SMTP users vs webmail users. The user agreement and Terms of Service in force with Pacbell and SBCGlobal customers contains language prohibiting theft of bandwidth, and unsolicited commercial email(UCE).

Thu May 03 20:07:49 2007 Notice: AT&T Yahoo! Terms of Service Change
Dear AT&T Yahoo! Member:

AT&T and Yahoo! have a history of providing our members with award-winning, industry-leading Internet products and services at a great value.

As more members are using AT&T Yahoo! Mail to send and receive photos, videos, and music, we will begin offering unlimited email storage in May to both existing and new members. Your service will continue to include all the premium products you already enjoy including video, LAUNCHcast Plus, and an all-in-one security suite.

Additionally, within the next few weeks you will begin seeing graphical advertisements in your AT&T Yahoo! Mail service. These advertisements will be integrated into the AT&T Yahoo! Mail experience, and we hope you will find the advertisements useful. Advertising such as this allows us to continue delivering new and innovative elements to our service and helps us keep prices competitive, while we continue to provide the high level of service that you have come to know and trust.

We strive to provide you with the best online experience possible and to address all your needs on the Internet.


AT&T Yahoo! Member Services

Please do not reply to this message. This is a service email related to your use of AT&T Yahoo!. To learn more about Yahoo!'s or AT&T's use of personal information, including the use of web beacons in HTML-based email, please read each Privacy Policy. Yahoo! is located at 701 First Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089. AT&T Internet Services is located at 6500 River Place Boulevard, Building III, Austin, TX 78730-1111. RefID: lp-11389916

Submission + - Harvard Law Prof Urges University to Fight RIAA

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Distinguished Harvard University Law School Professor Charles Nesson has called upon Harvard University to fight back against the RIAA and stand up for its students: "Students and faculty use the Internet to gather and share knowledge now more than ever....Yet "new deterrence and education initiatives" from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) threaten access to this vibrant resource. The RIAA has already requested that universities serve as conduits for more than 1,200 "pre-litigation letters." Seeking to outsource its enforcement costs, the RIAA asks universities to point fingers at their students, to filter their Internet access, and to pass along notices of claimed copyright infringement. But these responses distort the University's educational mission....... One can easily understand why the RIAA wants help from universities in facilitating its enforcement actions against students who download copyrighted music without paying for it. It is easier to litigate against change than to change with it. If the RIAA saw a better way to protect its existing business, it would not be threatening our students, forcing our librarians and administrators to be copyright police, and flooding our courts with lawsuits against relatively defenseless families without lawyers or ready means to pay. We can even understand the attraction of using lawsuits to shore up an aging business model rather than engaging with disruptive technologies and the risks that new business models entail...... But mere understanding is no reason for a university to voluntarily assist the RIAA with its threatening and abusive tactics. Instead, we should be assisting our students both by explaining the law and by resisting the subpoenas that the RIAA serves upon us. We should be deploying our clinical legal student training programs to defend our targeted students......""

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