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Your Rights Online

Submission + - KIrby Ferguson TED Talk: IP is a bad remix (

Stirling Newberry writes: "Techdirt has a link to one of Kirby Ferguson most recent talks, as well commentary on his point:

"The key point he makes in the end is that the system is broken because of the combination of a few factors that conflict with the fact that everything is a remix. When you mix laws that fundamentally treat creative works as property, with the massive rewards and huge legal fees associated with court cases, combined with the cognitive bias people have against others copying themselves (with a complete blindness for the fact that they are always copying others), you have a system that fundamentally does not work and cannot work."

Anyone familiar with say, Derrida's ideas on deconstruction will find little new on that side, however he puts the other point: that IP doesn't protect the idea, but the branding of it, in order to create a stream of money. Has the fuel of interest strangled the fire of genius? Or do we really want a system that rewards those who push paper better?"


Submission + - Microsoft makes Skype easier to monitor (

Stirling Newberry writes: "The Washington Post reports that since its acquisition by MS, Skype has made it easier to turn chats and conversations over to law enforcement:

Skype, the online phone service long favored by political dissidents, criminals and others eager to communicate beyond the reach of governments, has expanded its cooperation with law enforcement authorities to make online chats and other user information available to police...The company has “a long track record of working successfully with law enforcement here and internationally,” he added.

...Hacker groups and privacy experts have been speculating for months that Skype had changed its architecture to make it easier for governments to monitor, and many blamed Microsoft, which has an elaborate operation for complying with legal government requests in countries around the world

...The issue is, to what extent are our communications being purpose-built to make surveillance easy?” said Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility,

The article notes that the introduction of super-nodes both improved performance, and enabled monitoring, and reports that the company states that records are kept for 30 days."


Submission + - Infosys CEO to employees: suck it up. (

Stirling Newberry writes: "The Times of India Reports:

A day after Infosys 'lackluster performance, chief executive officer S D Shibulal wrote a letter to its 1.5 lakh employees to reassure them that their company is on the right track.

According to Wikipedia's bio, Shubilal is worth over one billion USD, and wants to improve employee engagement, which obviously is at the root of his strategy to take unavoidable headwinds, in his own words, and "one time occurances," out on employees:

"Last quarter, we said that we would review the possibility of increasing salaries during the year. However, given the business outlook, we will not be able to do this at this time. We will continue to look for any signs of improvement in the business outlook, which might allow us to revisit this in the quarters to come.

Thus despite a massive miss in revenue and continuing to compete on price, it seems that the floggings will continue at the software services giant, until morale improves."

Your Rights Online

Submission + - Cell Carriers Responded to 1.3 million Law Enforcement Requests for Data. ( 1

Stirling Newberry writes: "The New York Times reports:

In the first public accounting of its kind, cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a daunting 1.3 million demands for subscriber data last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations.

One stinging statistic: AT&T gets 230 requests for data per hour, and turns down only 18 per week. Sprint gets 500,000 requests per year. While many requests are backed by court orders, most are not. Some include "dumps" of tower data, which captures everyone near by at a certain time."

Your Rights Online

Submission + - Icelandic MP Claims US vendetta against Wikileaks (

Stirling Newberry writes: "Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir details more of the evidence for what she calls a "judicial vendetta" against Wikileaks, and its volunteers, including attempts to gain access to her twitter account. Her efforts to block the National Defense Authorization have been mentioned by slashdot before. The story was taken up last year by Glenn Greenwald and Wired. As a result the International Parliamentarian Union adopted a resolution on her case.

What's new? She asserts that there is a grand jury investigation into Wikileaks and related organizations, and is calling on Sweden to provide assurances that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange not be re-extradicted to the US."


Submission + - Is there a Titan Ocean? (

Stirling Newberry writes: "Luciano Iess and team have hypothesized that Titan joins Earth, Europa, and Ganymede as ocean worlds. They measure the size of the tidal bulges and find that the moon is likely not solid. Team member Jonathan Lunine points out that Titan's methane atmosphere is not stable, so needs some source, perhaps from outgassing. On earth, water means life, and in the future, ice covered ocean worlds are targets for human colonization, since as the late Arthur C. Clarke observed, water is the most precious substance in the universe to humans."

Submission + - Facebook changes users email to (

Stirling Newberry writes: "Remember when Facebook promised that future privacy changes would be opt in?

They lied:

Facebook has introduced its latest social media innovation – changing the email addresses posted by users on their profiles, en masse and without warning.

In the change, which took effect on Monday, Facebook abruptly replaced the details users had elected to associate with their account with addresses using a "" convention.

They fibbed."


Submission + - Wales Launches Dwyer Petition ( 1

Stirling Newberry writes: "One of the important moral principles that has made everything we relish about the internet possible, from Wikipedia to YouTube, is that internet service providers need to have a safe harbour from what their users do. Writes Jimmy Wales to announce the launch of petition against the extradition of TVShack's Richard O'Dwyer. He does not defend violating copyright, but does argue that providers have a safe harbor from what their users do – and as the founder of what may be the largest user created site on the internet, not surprising.

His other point is that O'Dwyer is being extradited for activity that was not a crime in the UK, and for which he was not prosecuted there, raising the troubling question of who can be arrested under what laws in the internet era. For example, could you be extradited to India for blasphemy for running an atheist site so long as people in India could access it?"


Submission + - Google was told about Snooping Code (

Stirling Newberry writes: "The Google engineer who wrote the payload snooping code on unprotected networks told his senior manager according to documents dumped Friday night by Google. The LA Times combed through the FCC report and found that while the engineer was taking the 5th, his colleagues at work stated they knew about the network snooping code.

Don't be ebil."


Submission + - New DoD CIO now has slash budgets (

Stirling Newberry writes: Teri Takai won accolades for her tenure as CIO of Michigan, and then California from industry press. However, her welcome in Washington was far less warm. Acting since January, she only officially was confirmed in October.

With the collapse of the "super committee" budget talks the agreed automatic rescissions are the subject of an upcoming legislative battle but neither side yet has the votes to push anything through. This means that for the billions of dollars coming through Defense IT technology salaries and contracting, Teri Taki is the person who is going to be making the front line decisions about how, and what, to do. An unclassified PDF from April shows how she approaches the DoD infrastructure, but probably is not relevant in the context of the upcoming cuts in its details.

One thing that will be likely, she not going to be twittering that much and she's not good at updating her profiles. However she does seem have the same focus on service for lower cost prevalent in industry, as this FedScoop video with Diane Bryant of Intel highlights.


Submission + - US Army Has First Test Flight of Mach 6 Weapon ( 2

Stirling Newberry writes: "In a terse press release the US Department of Defense announced the first test of the the AHW, which uses rockets to launch and then glides to its target, in a manner similar to the Space Shuttle's re-entry. Earlier ABC News posted a story with animation video of the concept. Over at DefenseTech they argue that the trajectory being different from an ICBM is meant to show that it is not a first strike, but even the comments don't think that explanation flies.

More likely it is the speed of deployment, the ability to strike targets without going high enough to be seen by many advance warning radars, and without using nuclear warheads makes it a precision surprise attack weapon, a kind of super cruise missile for surprise asymetric attacks."


Submission + - Science Magazine: Disgraced Researcher Gives up Ph (

Stirling Newberry writes: "Science Magazine reports that Diederik Stapel, who falsified data on virtually all of his papers has given up his PhD. The university released a statement, which Google Translate renders as:

Diederik Stapel on November 9, 2011 voluntarily surrendered his doctorate at the University of Amsterdam. The certificate he received in 1997 after his promotion is now back in possession of the university.

Stack has declared in writing to waive his Ph.D. because he believes that his behavior in recent years does not fit with the duties associated with the doctorate. Stack graduated in 1997 from the University of Amsterdam. He worked there from 1993 to 1999. He then worked in Groningen and Tilburg. On October 31 the Committee recommended Levelt, who investigated the scientific integrity of the work of Stack, the University of Amsterdam to investigate a Ph.D. may be withdrawn.


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