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User Journal

Journal Journal: Lenovo notebooks to come with a kill switch

First the Apple iPhone, now Lenovo notebooks? TGDaily is reporting that Lenovo will be shipping notebooks will kill switches. Specifically, you will be able to kill a notebook remotely via a SMS text message. The capability will be built into the BIOS. Although I'm not sure how this stops a determined attacker with control of the hardware, I do see how this might cause issues with the US military. They seem to live in a continuously growing state of fear that a stealthy Chinese attack will remotely disable their military prowess. No word on how they feel about the Chinese funding the US military though...
User Journal

Journal Journal: Charges filed against "how to make a baby fly" videographer

Last week, felony charges were filed against a 16 year old in Georgia for launching an 8 month old baby across a room with a pillow. He was arrested after video of the baby launch showed up on YouTube. The teen behind the camera has now been charged as well. A second video was discovered after the search of a PC turned up additional footage. He initially avoided arrest because investigators did not think he knew what his friend was planning to do. As a side note, the original and presumably legal video has been pulled from YouTube, while the copyright infringing news report is still available.
User Journal

Journal Journal: eBay'er arrested for attempting to sell his vote

The Associated Press reports that Max P. Sanders, 19 is charged with a felony for attempting to auction off his vote in the upcoming presidential election on eBay. From the article:

"Fundamentally, we believe it is wrong to sell your vote," said John Aiken, a spokesman for the office. "There are people that have died for this country for our right to vote, and to take something that lightly, to say, 'I can be bought.'" ... "It's a real shame"

Yes, that is a terrible shame, isn't it. Perhaps we should arrest, prosecute, and imprison everyone who sells their vote. The boy says it was all a joke, but prosecutors aren't laughing. Max faces up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines if he is convicted.


Journal Journal: Sony rootkit settlement website is now open

As of Wednesday Feb. 15, Sony's rootkit settlement website has gone live. The site has instructions for settlement filings by class members of the class action lawsuit taking place in New York state. The settlement [PDF] grants those who purchased one of the affected CDs a rootkit-free replacement CD and either a) $7.50 USD cash payment and a free DRM'ed CD download or b) three DRM'ed CD downloads. Customers who purchased MediaMax CD's will be entitled to one additional DRM'ed CD download.

If you are a member of the class and you feel that pocket change and a few crippled sound files are not adequate restitution for Sony's actions, the settlement website also has information on how to a) file an objection to the terms of the settlement and b) file for exclusion from the settlement so that you may pursue Sony in court yourself. The options are mutually exclusive, and your right to exercise either option expires on May 1, 2006. Doing nothing will not only get you nothing, but it also precludes you from bringing your own suit against Sony in the future. Sony has reserved the right to abandon the settlement if more than 1000 class members file for exclusion from the settlement.

The Courts

Journal Journal: Courts accept Sony settlement

The court has approved Sony's proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit taking place in New York state. The settlement [PDF] grants those who purchased one of the affected CDs a rootkit-free replacement CD and either a) $7.50 USD cash payment and a free DRM'ed CD download or b) three DRM'ed CD downloads. Customers who purchased MediaMax CD's will be entitled to one additional DRM'ed CD. Sony has also reserved the right to back out of the settlement "if the number of timely and valid requests for exclusion from the Settlement Class exceeds 1,000." Although plenty of coverage has been given to security holes opened by the rootkit, it seems Sony is being let off scot-free for committing computer trespass. Since the MediaMax software installs itself even if the customer declines the EULA, it seems it would be rather difficult for Sony to claim in court that customers agreed to be spied on. A single instance of computer trespass is a Class E Felony in the state of New York. There are an estimated 20 Million CDs in circulation. "At least 568,200 nameservers have witnessed DNS queries related to the rootkit", and yet months later no one has launched a criminal investigation into what information Sony may have surreptitiously stolen from its victims. Additionally, it's well documented that Sony has committed copyright infringement by including GPL'ed software without adhering to the license. In the face of such grievous, numerous, and willful violations of US law, where are all the politicians who are tough on crime? Does such a massive breach of computer security pose national security risks to a country dependent on its high tech infrastructure? I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few people would like to file for exclusion until the persons responsible at Sony face criminal charges. For those interested, the EFF is providing instructions to members of the class who would like to file for exclusion from Sony's NY settlement. Those filing for exclusion might also want to contact NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and let him know exactly why your filing was made.

Journal Journal: Power to cost more than hardware?

C/Net is reporting that Apple isn't the only company concerned about performance per watt. Google engineer Luiz Andre Barroso is quoted as saying "If performance per watt is to remain constant over the next few years, power costs could easily overtake hardware costs, possibly by a large margin." CMP (chip multiprocessing technology) is hailed as a stopgap rather than a panacea. According to Barroso, "Fundamental circuit and architectural innovations are still needed to address the longer-term trends."
User Journal

Journal Journal: I feel so loved!

Sweet! I have my first two freaks. Users 926212 and 599415. Awesome! What earned me such hatred and derision? Why this post of course. Wow! I did it all without a swear word. So do I really care? Nope. Why document it? Reference material.

Journal Journal: Rejected again... War-Porn Webmaster Arrested

Well, I'm tired of getting rejected, so I'll just start putting this stuff in the journal no one will ever read.... What happens when you mix war and porn online? According to the Detroit Free Press you get arrested. Christopher M. Wilson of Lakeland, FL was arrested on 300 obscenity related charges involving pornographic content on his website Friday. Polk County sheriff Grady Judd claimed the arrest had nothing to do with the pictures of war dead, though he confirmed that detectives met with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division before making the arrest. Descriptions of the pornographic pictures, according to Judd, are so offensive that they are unfit to even describe for reporters. In the meantime, the site in question still appears to be up and soliciting funds for a legal defense on its BBS.

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