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Submission + - Flame a university president, get suspended (

cnet-declan writes: "A graduate student at Minnesota's Hamline University has been suspended after he sent a pair of annoyed email messages to school officials in favor of gun rights. Troy Scheffler had a concealed carry permit and wanted to carry his handgun on campus. But after he flamed the university's president and VP in email over their (non-)support for gun rights, Hamline barred him from campus and ordered him to undergo a mandatory "mental health evaluation" before he can return to class. The non-partisan Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, co-founded by a former EFF attorney, is helping him fight back against the Hamline administration."

Submission + - Bush admin: RIAA verdict shows law is "effecti ( 1

cnet-declan writes: "The Bush administration's copyright czar says the RIAA's $222,000 recent jury verdict against a Minnesota woman shows copyright law is "effective" and working as planned. Check out our story with comments from Chris Israel, the U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement. Israel is formerly a senior Commerce Department official appointed by President Bush in July 2005 who previously worked for Time Warner's public policy arm (Warner Bros. Records is one of the plaintiffs in the RIAA case). We also have an interview with Rep. Rick Boucher, no fan of the RIAA, on whether Congress will change the law, an analysis of why U.S. copyright law is broken, and four reasons why the RIAA won."

Submission + - Whoops! Nevada governor posts Outlook password (

cnet-declan writes: "We already know the federal government's computer security sucks, so why should state governments be any better? ran an article this morning reporting that Nevada has posted the password to the gubernatorial e-mail account on its official state Web site as part of Word document giving step-by-step instructions on how aides should send out the governor's weekly e-mail updates. The Outlook username is, by the way, "governor" and the password is "kennyc". The former Nevada governor is Kenny C. Guinn, which hardly says much about password security, although it's the current inhabitant of the office (Jim A. Gibbons) who has the 28 percent approval rating and is facing an FBI investigation. About 20 minutes after our article appeared, the documents were pulled but they (and others) are still available via Google's cache."

Submission + - FBI remotely installs spyware to trace bomb threat (

cnet-declan writes: "There have been rumors for years about the FBI remotely installing spyware via e-mail or by exploiting an operating system vulnerability from afar — and now there's confirmation. Last month, the FBI obtained a federal court order to remotely install spyware called CIPAV (Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier) to find out who was behind a MySpace account linked to bomb threats sent to a high school near Olympia, Wash. has posted a PDF of the FBI affidavit, which makes for interesting reading, and a summary of the CIPAV results that the FBI submitted to a magistrate judge. It seems as though CIPAV was installed via e-mail, as an article back in 2004 hinted was the case. In addition to reporting the computer's IP address, MAC address, and registry information, it also gave the FBI updates on which IP addresses the user(s) visited. But how did the FBI get the spyware activated and past anti-virus defenses? Two obvious ways are for the Feds to find and exploit their own operating system backdoors, or to compromise security vendors..."

Submission + - Will security firms detect police spyware? (

cnet-declan writes: "A recent appeals court case dealt with Drug Enforcement Administration agents using a key logger to investigate a suspect using PGP and Hushmail. That invites the obvious question: Will security companies ever intentionally overlook police spyware? There were somewhat-muddled reports in 2001 that Symantec and McAfee would do just that, so over at we figured we'd do a survey of the top 13 security firms. We asked them three questions, including if it is their policy to detect policeware, and our article reporting the results is here. Notably, Check Point said it would "afford law enforcement" the courtesy of whitelisting if requested. We've also posted the full results, with their complete answers. Another question we asked is if they received a court order requiring them to overlook police key loggers or spyware. Symantec, IBM, Kaspersky, and others said no. Only Microsoft and McAfee refused to answer."

Submission + - W3C bars public from "public" conf on tran (

cnet-declan writes: "The World Wide Web Consortium, which claims to be an "open forum" for standards discussion, held an event in DC on Monday (with a Tim Berners-Lee keynote) described as: "Conversations and results are public." But it turns out that reporters were barred from attending the event, which was, ironically, held in a federal building and titled "Toward More Transparent Government." The W3C's Danny Weiztner, an lawyer and event co-chair, told me it was necessary so government officials could speak freely — but was unable to identify any who might feel stifled. Here's our article on W3C's apparent hypocrisy."

Submission + - Senator warns of e-mail tax this fall

cnet-declan writes: "State and local governments this week began an all-out lobbying push in Wahsington for the power to tax the Internet, according to our article at A new Senate bill would usher in Internet sales taxes, and the Federation of Tax Administrators (representing state tax collectors) advised senators at a hearing on Wednesday not to renew a temporary moratorium limiting broadband taxes that expires in November. One irked Republican senator warned that unless it's renewed, we could start seeing email taxes by the end of the year. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey blames it on the Democrats taking over, as do Yahoo and eBay lobbyists. Is this the return of the proposed-then-abandoned United Nations email tax and a non-hoax version of bill 602P?"

Submission + - Congress may outlaw "attempted" piracy

cnet-declan writes: "The Bush administration is asking Congress to make "attempted" copyright infringement a federal crime. It's no joke. Here's our article on the topic, along with the text of the legislation and a press-release -type summary. Rep. Lamar Smith, a key House Republican, said he "applauds" the idea, and his Democratic counterpart is probably on board too. In addition, the so-called Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007 would create a new crime of life imprisonment for using pirated software in some circumstances, expand the DMCA with civil asset forfeiture, and authorize wiretaps in investigations of Americans who are "attempting" to infringe copyrights. Does this go too far?"

Submission + - Last chance to tell DHS "no" to national I

cnet-declan writes: "If you don't like the idea of a federalized ID card, you have only have a few hours left to let Homeland Security know your thoughts. That's because the deadline to file comments on the Real ID Act is 5pm ET on Tuesday. Probably the best place to do that is a Web site created by an ad hoc alliance called the Privacy Coalition (they oppose the idea, but if you're a big Real ID fan you can use their site to send adoring comments too). Alternatively, Homeland Security has finally seen fit to give us an email address that you can use to submit comments on the Real ID Act. Send email to with "Docket No. DHS-2006-0030" in the Subject: line. Here's some background on what the Feds are planning."

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