GayBliss writes: "The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 1955) last month, by a vote of 404 to 6, that defines the Internet as a terrorist tool that Congress needs to develop and implement methods to combat. The first 3 "findings" pretty much sums it up:
`The Congress finds the following:
`(1) The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.
`(2) The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the United States and poses a threat to homeland security.
`(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.
The bill now moves to the Senate for a vote. So where do you suppose they are going with this? Should we wait around to find out, or is it time to call your congressman?"
mknewman writes: MSN is reporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's education policy is causing a stir... but not all in a good way. Advocates for space exploration are noting with dismay that he'd take billions of dollars from NASA to pay for the educational programs he'd like to expand.
The shift from exploration to education came last week when Obama talked up his $18 billion education plan during a New Hampshire campaign swing. Actually, the reference to NASA comes at the end of a 15-page document laying out the details behind the plan (PDF file):
"The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years, using purchase cards and the negotiating power of the government to reduce costs of standardized procurement, auctioning surplus federal property, and reducing the erroneous payments identified by the Government Accountability Office, and closing the CEO pay deductibility loophole...."
wikiwhistleblower writes: "Not-so-secret cabal made even less secret by the antics on Wikipedia, plus you can now be blocked just for "creating controversy." And don't think you can be private if you use an alternate account, because admins could link it to one which contains your real name, with no warning."
Tech.Luver writes: "Michael Gaertner worried he could lose his company. A group called the Business Software Alliance was claiming that his 10-person architectural firm was using unlicensed software._______________
The alliance demanded $67,000 — most of one year's profit — or else it would seek more in court. "It just scared the hell out of me," Gaertner said._______________
Targeting small businesses is lucrative for the Business Software Alliance, the main copyright-enforcement watchdog for such companies as Microsoft Corp., Adobe Systems Inc. and Symantec Corp._______________
Of the $13 million that the BSA reaped in software violation settlements with North American companies last year, almost 90 percent came from small businesses._______________
Gaertner, who worried his BSA encounter would crush his business, wants to rid himself of the Autodesk, Microsoft and Adobe software involved in the case."It's not like they have really good software. It's just that it's widespread and it's commonly used," he said. "It's going to be a while, but eventually, we plan to get completely disengaged from those software vendors that participate in the BSA."_______________
( http://techluver.com/2007/11/25/piracy-fight-makes-enemies-bsa-bullying-over-small-businesses/ )"
vaporland writes: "An analysis by The Associated Press reveals that targeting small businesses is lucrative for the Business Software Alliance, the main copyright-enforcement watchdog for such companies as Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec and Apple. For example, BSA claimed that a 10-person architectural firm in Galveston, Texas, was using unlicensed software, and demanded $67,000 — most of one year's profit — or else it would seek more in court.
The AP found that, of the $13 million that the BSA reaped in software violation settlements with North American companies last year, almost 90 percent came from small businesses. The BSA considers software pirated if a receipt cannot be produced, no matter how old it is, and even if a company possesses the original media. MPAA, RIAA take note!
The BSA generally demands at least twice the retail price, charging the "unbundled" price for software that may have originally come bundled with a computer, like Microsoft Office.
reporter writes: "According to a report by the "Times Online", President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed changing the work rules for public-sector employees so that they meet private-sector standards in France. For example, railroad operators can currently retire on a full pension at the age of 50 (which corresponds to roughly 32 years of employment if you began work at the age of 18). Other employees can retire on full pension after 37.5 years of work instead of the usual 40 years. Sarkozy has prosposed requiring that everyone work, at least, 40 years. Well, his proposal triggered a nasty response from the unions. According to a report by the "International Herald Tribune" and another report by the Associated Press, France is entering its second week of nationwide strikes, which are primarly affecting the transportation sector.
In the past, the public tended to support the strikers, but now most French people are condemning them for being a bunch of spoiled brats. Today, "despite freezing weather, about 10,000 people marched in Paris to demand that railroad workers return to work and that the government not back down from its efforts at reforms."
Are we seeing the birth of a new France, returning to its rightful place as an economic and cultural superpower? Vive la France!"
rabiddeity writes: "If you're planning to visit Japan sometime in the near future, you may want to reconsider. Last year, Japan's parliament passed a measure requiring foreigners to submit their fingerprints when entering the country. The measures, which apply to all foreigners over 16 regardless of visa status, take effect tomorrow. The worst part: the fingerprints are stored in a national database for an "unspecified time", and will be made available to both domestic police and foreign governments."
dprovine writes: According to a joint investigation by series of articles in The Washington Post and
60 Minutes, a forensic test used by the FBI for decades is known to be invalid. The National Academy of Science issued a report in
2004 that FBI investigators had given "problematic" testimony to juries. The FBI later
stopped using "bullet lead analysis", but sent a letter to law enforcement officials
saying that they still fully supported the science behind it. Hundreds of criminal
defendants — some already convicted in part on the testimony of FBI experts — were
not informed about the problems with the evidence used against them in court.
Does anyone at the Justice Department even care about what effect this will have on
how the public in general (and juries in particular) regards the trustworthiness of
Mode_Locrian writes: Gramophone Magazine reports that Universal Classics and Jazz will be making its entire catalogue available for sale in DRM-free form. While Universal stresses that this will be a trial run, it certainly looks like a step in the right direction. Now, if only they'd offer downloads in formats other than mp3...
SailorSpork writes: "According to the linked thread on the forums of AnimeSuki, a popular anime bittorent index site, Comcast has begun sending DCMA letters to customers downloading unlicensed (meaning that no english language company has the rights to) fan-subtitled anime shows via bittorrent. The letters are claiming that the copyright holder or an authorized agent are making the infringement claims, though usually these requests are also sent to the site itself rather that individual downloaders.
My question is have they really been in contact with Japanese anime companies, or is this another scare tactic by Comcast to try and reduce the bandwidth use of their heavier customers now that their previous tactics have come under legalfire?"
quanticle writes: According to the New York Times, the FCC is planning to unveil new regulations for the cable market that will lower barriers to entry for independent programmers.
The rules would be aimed at stopping the growth of existing cable giants like Comcast and Time Warner, while seeking to encourage more small companies to get into the field. Also, earlier this month, the FCC struck down the practice of having exclusive contracts between cable providers and apartment owners.
All in all, this looks like a welcome infusion of competition into an otherwise stagnant market. The impact that this will have on the network neutrality debate is unclear.
Mr. C writes: The Maryland Senate added an ammendment to the tax code during a special session which imposes a 6% Service tax on all computer related services and activities effective Jan 1.
The Budget and Taxation Committee scrapped the expansion to real property management services and tanning, massage, physical fitness, sauna, or steam bath facilities or services that would have generated an estimated $60 million. They replaced those services with computer services, landscaping and arcades, which will generate an estimated $300 million.
The bill is facing some flak in the Senate but it's going largely unnoticed by the public since the new industries that are targeted were given no warning about the language which was inserted Wednesday.