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Submission + - PJ shutters Groklaw

The Cornishman writes: Early this morning, EDT, Pamela Jones, better known across the world as PJ posted what would appear to be her final article, marking the end of Groklaw. Her reason? The forced exposure which she feels from ubiquitous surveillance makes it impossible to continue to interact with Groklawers over the Internet, and she did always say she couldn't do Groklaw without email. As casualties of Big Brotherism go, this is pretty major. Personally, I thought Groklaw was a force for good in the world.
The Internet

Submission + - Geist's Fair Copyright for Canada Principles

An anonymous reader writes: Canadian law prof Michael Geist has been leading the charge against a Canadian DMCA including the creation a Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group that now has more than 38,000 members. Having delayed the legislation, he now outlines what Canadians should be fighting for — more flexible fair dealing, a balanced implementation of the WIPO Internet treaties, an ISP safe harbour, and a modernized backup copy provision.
The Courts

Submission + - Type host -l, pay $50,000+ and perhaps go to jail (spamsuite.com) 1

Joe Wagner writes: "In a written judgment that has only become public today, anti-spammer David Ritz has lost the SLAPP lawsuit filed by Jerry Reynolds filed for running "unauthorized" DNS lookups on their servers. Knowing "commands are not commonly known to the average computer user" can get you into serious peril in some judges' court rooms.

I kid you not. The Judge ruled that "In all intended uses of a zone transfer, the secondary server is operated by the same party that operates the primary server." The original complaint is here.

Ritz was a thorn in Reynolds' side during the years when Ritz was trying to get the Netzilla/Sexzilla porn spam operation to stop spamming. Reynolds has been quite aggressive in trying to get his past erased from the net (including forged cancel posts). The North Dakota Judge also awarded attorneys fee which could theoretically make the total bill over $500k for doing a domain zone transfer. Reynolds also filed a criminal complaint against Ritz which was on hold pending resolution of this trial.

Here is a literal worst-case scenario of what can happen when a court fails miserably to understand technology. The judge ruled:

Ritz has engaged in a variety of activities without authorization on the Internet. Those activities include port scanning, hijacking computers, and the compilation and publication of Whois lookups without authorization from Network Solutions.
The port scanning/hijacking computers is posting a test message through one of Verizon's machines to prove to Verizon they had an open relay — i.e. posting to 0.verizon.security via the relay a note to Verizon's security saying "What's it going to take to get you to secure this gaping hole in what you call your network," or words to that effect. Verizon apparently had no problem with the demo post and closed the relay.

Take note, for those anti-spammers out there, this Judge is ruling that if you post the whois record for a spammer's domain your are doing a malicious, tortious act.

There is a legal defense fund that was set up for his case. I believe he does not have the resources to appeal and this would be a very bad precedent to stand."

Security

Submission + - City techie sues Cell Company Airtel & Pune Po (indiatimes.com)

TechGuyFromIndia writes: A Bangalore-based software engineer, Lakshmana Kailash K, who was wrongly jailed for 50 days last year by the Pune police cyber cell, has demanded Rs 20 crore in damages and slapped a legal notice on telecom giant Bharti Airtel, principal secretary (Home) Maharashtra government and assistant commissioner of police (financial & cyber crime unit), Pune police. Lakshmana had been falsely accused of an internet crime — posting unseemly pictures of Chattrapati Shivaji on the web — and was arrested based on the internet protocol address provided by his internet service provider, Bharti. As it turned out, the IP address was not his. But by the time the police confirmed this and acted on it, he had already spent 50 harrowing days at the Yerwada Jail with hardened criminals, had tasted lathi beatings and was made to use one bowl to both eat and for the toilet. Lakshmana's nightmare, first reported in TOI on Nov 3, 2007, sparked condemnation on the web with internet communities posting their outrage. The techie's 10-page legal notice, a copy of which has been sent to the NHRC, vents anger at the way in which the police and judicial system made nonsense of his rights and highlights the degrading conditions within the jail.
Government

Submission + - If Your Hard Drive Could Testify... (nytimes.com)

Embedded Geek writes: "The New York Times has an underreported story about an expected federal appeals court ruling that will uphold the government's right to search through all electronic media entering the country, just as they have the right to search through suitcases, baggage, etc. The case involves a man returning from the Philippines who was caught with child pornography on his laptop in a folder labeled "Kodak Pictures." Under the standard, officials would not need "reasonable suspicion" as is required for a body search. Instead, "border authorities could systematically collect all of the information contained on every laptop computer, BlackBerry and other electronic device carried across our national borders by every traveler, American or foreign." Interestingly, encryption seems to be the best option to protecting privacy at the border here just as it is elsewhere — as long as you never voluntarily provide the password to Customs, as they can force you to do it again if they forget to write it down."
Music

Submission + - Right to copy own CDs to be written into UK law

Jumbo Jimbo writes: The Times, London, is reporting that the right of users to make copies of music they have purchased may be enshrined in UK law (story is last one on the page, scroll down). This is unlawful under current copyright legislation, some of which dates back over 300 years. So no chance of being sued for copying your new CDs onto your PC and iPod, unless it's the Spice Girls reunion when they can still get you under the Outraging Common Decency statute.
Government

Submission + - Leave Your Laptop At Home When Entering the US (nytimes.com) 4

rah1420 writes: "According to a recent sidebar in the NY Times, a couple of federal appeals courts have upheld the right of the government to inspect the hard drive contents of any hard drive entering the US. So make sure you leave the pr0n at home. And your finances. And your personal correspondence. And your notes and contact list (if you're a reporter.) For my part, I am buying another hard disk. I'll just install Ubuntu and Firefox and use that if I have to travel abroad."
Security

Submission + - Top Gear Host Goes Into Reverse on Data Theft (bbc.co.uk)

autophile writes: Idiot Jeremy Clarkson, host of Britain's popular car show Top Gear, had made an ass of himself by claiming that the fuss over the loss in the post of two unencrypted CDs containing the entire database of child benefit claimants, complete with bank account details, was much ado about nothing. He further assified himself by publishing his own bank account numbers in his Sunday Times column to prove no harm was done. Oops. A day later, someone had already taken £500 from his account and donated it to charity. Now he's saying, "Contrary to what I said at the time, we must go after the idiots who lost the discs and stick cocktail sticks in their eyes until they beg for mercy." Who's the idiot now?
Yahoo!

Submission + - Yahoo! feeds porno to kids! (yahoo.com)

Patrick Klos writes: "I have an autistic 14 year old son who loves to play on his computer. He also loves airplanes, pizza, hot dogs and cars. One day I found him using Yahoo!'s image search to look for pictures of hot dogs. He gets a kick out of it. Here's the URL for the basic search:

        http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?p=hot+dog&fr=yfp-t-501&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8

It turns out that there are some pornographic images that contain the words "hot" and "dog" in their description, so Yahoo! returns a page indicating that the "Results for hot dog may contain adult-oriented content." It also indicates that the "SafeSearch" feature must be turned off in order to see those results. What is troublesome is that Yahoo! provides no way to view the non-pornographic results at all! It's either all or nothing. So what can a child do? My son pokes around some more hoping he can find the pictures he's looking for. Although my son doesn't understand the messages that Yahoo! is feeding him, he knows if he clicks on the links on the page, he might get further. Well, when he clicks on the "turn off" link to turn off SafeSearch, a prompt pops up asking him to verify his age:

        Turning SafeSearch off may result in the display of Web, Video and
        Image search results of a mature or sexually explicit nature. By
        clicking "I Accept," you certify that you are at least 18 years old
        and agree to the Terms of Service.

Now any kid (special needs or not) is gonna blow by this and just click on "I Accept" — it's highlighted — it must be the right button to push. So, of course, my son clicks on that button and he's presented with a page of thumbnails of pictures of "hot dogs", including the pornographic images. Luckily, he doesn't gravitate toward the pornographic images, but instead concentrates on the actual images he was looking for.

I contacted several departments at Yahoo! (abuse, support, legal), and even called and spoke with someone in their "compliance" department (which is where the operator sends you if you ask for "legal"). I got no responses from my emails and web forms, and the guy on the phone from compliance said "SafeSearch is working exactly as it's supposed to". He just didn't see how wrong it was to turn such an innocent search for pictures by a child into a pornographic fiasco! I asked why Yahoo! couldn't just make non-pornographic pictures available when SafeSearch is on, but he just insisted that there was nothing wrong.

I even created a Yahoo! account for my son so Yahoo! would know his age and hopefully tailor the search results based on that, but the search came up with the same prompts. You would think if someone is signed on with a profile indicating their age as being 14, Yahoo! wouldn't even prompt them with the "I am 18 years old" disclaimer!

Apparently, MSN and Google can get a simple innocent search for pictures of "hot dogs" right without having to disable SafeSearch or push pornographic content to our children:

        http://search.msn.com/images/results.aspx?q=hot+dog&FORM=MSNH&mkt=en-US

        http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=hot+dog&gbv=2

Why can't Yahoo!?!?!?

If you find this as outrageous as I do, please contact Yahoo! and tell them how irresponsible you think their attitude is!"

Government

Submission + - Indians need PhotoID in their own national capital (hindu.com) 2

A Concerned Indian Citizen writes: The Lieutenant-Governor of New Delhi has announced recently that Indians shall need to carry an identity card, with their photograph, at all times within the national capital. This move is being justified in the name of security of the citizenry from the terrorists. The Chief-Minister of the socio-economic state of Bihar has already written to the Prime-Minister as to how this scheme can be used to harass Bihar-residents. Unfortunately, mainstream media has not yet pointed out that this scheme only increases potential for caste/religion/race based discrimination, fanning the communal fires even more.

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