iminplaya writes: "In an era when subscriber acquisition rates are declining, the focus of service providers is on increasing profitability and competitiveness, which are largely dependent upon gaining visibility into and control over the events and transactions on their networks. In fact, network activity is a valuable resource that can be exploited to produce measurable business value by the savvy service providers that have the expertise and technology to extract that value from it."
"In just one of many examples, DPI manufacturer Allot describes how its DPI product "enables service providers to project potential revenues and profits from setting up a tiered service infrastructure" and allows providers to "reduce the performance of applications with negative influence on revenues..."
"DPI-enabled discrimination will reduce consumer choice and diminish the innovation at the edges that makes the Internet valuable. No short-term benefit can outweigh these long-term harms."
"Pursuant to the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008 (which wound up passing in September as a component of the Former Vice President Protection Act...), the Commission's recommended penalties are supposed to take into account "the level of sophistication and planning" involved in a computer crime. Someone who makes use of "special skills" or "sophisticated means" to break the law gets their offense bumped by two "levels" of severity (out of a total of 43) when it comes time for sentencing. Though a complex table determines exactly what that means in a specific case, in general an increase of two levels seems to be worth an additional four to six months in prison...
A proposed amendment to the commission's guidelines would lump in proxy servers and anonymizers with such tactics:
In a scheme involving computers, using any technology or software to conceal the identity or geographic location of the perpetrator ordinarily indicates sophisticated means...
...if the Commission does decide to define all anonymizing tools as scary "sophisticated means" by default, I modestly propose that they follow their cinematic inspiration all the way, and sentence convicted hackers to be dropped from helicopters by ponytailed martial artists. If we don't stop them now, after all, the only result can be Global Thermonuclear War."
"Australia's controversial plan to implement a mandatory ISP filtering system may crash into a big brick wall after a backer effectively changed teams. Senator Nick Xenophon was previously in favor of a system that would run all citizens' Internet connections through a filter for "illegal" content because it might have also blocked access to online gambling sites. As more and more concerns about the workability of the ambitious plan have been raised, however, he has decided that there are too many unanswered questions and now says he will move to block any legislation that comes through...
"[T]he more evidence that's come out, the more questions there are on this," Xenophon told the newspaper. "I'm very skeptical that the Government is going down the best path on this. I commend their intentions but I think the implementation of this could almost be counter-productive and I think the money could be better spent."
In addition to Xenophon's decision to stop supporting the filtering legislation, an independent poll of Australian citizens conducted by Galaxy showed that only five percent of Australians actually want ISPs to be responsible for controlling access to content, and only four percent want the government to hold the reins to such a system. A different survey by Netspace found that only 6.3 percent of those surveyed agreed with the proposed policies."
iminplaya writes: What's the worst thing that could happen to a band that is adamantly pro-DRM and anti-filesharing? Having an unreleased album leaked all over the Internet, of course, and by one of the Big Four labels to boot. U2's upcoming album, No Line on the Horizon, is slated for release on March 3, but it's already available on numerous filesharing sites and P2P networks thanks to the accidental posting of the album by Universal's Australian branch.
U2 has traditionally been so paranoid about early, unauthorized leaks that it has set up secret "listening parties"--no cell phones allowed--for industry insiders instead of simply sending out copies for review. All of these measures are not only inconvenient for the band and industry folk, they're also (obviously) not working when leaks like this can happen with the accidental press of a button. And, the more you fight people's ability to listen to your music the way they want, the more pleasure they'll take in illegally downloading your yet-to-be-released album when it pops up on BitTorrent. Emphasis mine...Damn tootin'
iminplaya writes: "What's a good way to release your entire back catalog of music to a large audience without having to deal with the bureaucratic red tape of the record labels and the iTunes Store? Release it yourself through the App Store, of course. The album-as-an-iPhone-app method has been experimented with by some bands already, but the Presidents of the United States of America (yes, the guys behind the "Peaches" song) have gone all out, selling its entire discography through the App Store in hopes of engaging fans in ways they couldn't through the iTunes Store alone.
The music, however, is not actually contained within the application itself; instead, it is streamed to the app from a server, requiring the user to be connected to a network of some kind (iPhone users on the cell or WiFi network, iPod touch users on WiFi) in order to access the media.
In a way, this method is almost the beginning of the iTunes subscription model, except controlled entirely by the bands..."
Yep, that's a light there at the end of this tunnel. But let's see if the RIAA doesn't pressure Apple to reject these apps. I'm sure they'll make up some kind of infringement case against them.
In mounting its outsourcing effort, Boeing "might have gone a couple thousand engineers too far," says Richard Aboulafia, vice-president at the Teal Group, an aviation consulting firm in Fairfax, Va.
And the executives, chastened by the missteps, appear to be readying suppliers for the likelihood they will lose some work, perhaps in production as well as in engineering design. Engineering Vice-President Mike Denton has suggested that the company is hammering out details about the changes with suppliers, whose contracts would likely have to be recast if changes are extensive. "Our engineers and production workers are basically correcting the problems that should have never come to us in the first place--problems that are the result of the partners really not being done," Denton said in a company podcast in the fall, as reported by the Web site Air Transport Intelligence. "We will probably do more of the design and even some of the major production for the next new airplanes ourselves as opposed to having it all out with the partners."
This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for "Barack Obama" kept flipping to "John McCain".
Putnam County Clerk Brian Wood said on Saturday that he is upset there are "so many negative stories out there and not enough positive ones. We want people to vote. People need to know the facts...
Wood said, "Voting machines are very reliable. I hate the fact that stories like this are printed. It makes everybody get scared."
iminplaya writes: Concerns about DMCA takedown abuse and fair use aren't limited to Lawrence Lessig, the EFF, and Free Press--John McCain and Sarah Palin are going all mavericky on the issue as well. Yesterday, their campaign sent a letter to YouTube complaining about rightsholders (especially news organizations) that filed illegitimate DMCA takedown notices and managed to have important campaign clips pulled at crucial times.
The letter opens by talking about how important YouTube has been for the campaign's efforts to get out copies of commercials, speeches, etc., but notes that the site's usefulness is being curtailed by "overreaching copyright claims."
But "despite the complete lack of merit" to the claims, the videos were pulled as per YouTube's policy.
The campaign can file a counternotice, of course, and YouTube will eventually put the videos back up (at this point, if a rightsholder still believes the takedown request was valid, he or she can sue the creator of the video). But this process doesn't move at either "Internet speed" or "campaign speed," and having crucial attack videos down for days at a time is apparently hurting the campaign.
The letter is yet more evidence of why human judgment--not just automated filtering or scanning--is crucial in such cases.
It's refreshing to see mainstream politicians (or at least their operatives and lawyers) speaking up for fair use and showing an understanding of the problems caused by overly-aggressive systems for flagging possible violations. Perhaps when those at the highest levels of government--not just the mothers of dancing toddlers--understand the problems here, a better copyright balance can be struck.
iminplaya writes: China is set to overtake the United States next year as the world's largest producer of manufactured goods, four years earlier than expected, as a result of the rapidly weakening U.S. economy. The great leap is revealed in forecasts for the Financial Times by Global Insight, an economics consultancy based in Boston. According to the estimates, next year China will account for 17% of manufacturing value-added output, while the United States will make 16%. In 2007, the United States was still easily in the top slot and accounted for a fifth of the total. China was second, with 13.2%. The expected change will end more than a 100 years of U.S. dominance. It returns China to a position it occupied, according to economic historians, for 1,800 years, up to about 1840, when Britain became the world's biggest manufacturer after its Industrial Revolution.
iminplaya writes: Nine American Eagle airplanes were grounded Tuesday after a TSA inspector, conducting an overnight security check, used sensitive instrument probes to climb onto the parked aircraft at Chicago's O'Hare Airport... At least forty regional commuter flights were delayed throughout the day, according to American Airlines. The TSA agent, as part of spot inspection of aircraft security, climbed onto the parked aircraft using control sensors mounted on the fuselage as handholds, according to a TSA official in Chicago, Elio Montenegro. "Our inspector was following routine procedure for securing the aircraft that were on the tarmac," Montenegro told ABCNews.com. Here's a somewhat more less "polished" take on the story.
iminplaya writes: "Several incidents of iPod nanos bursting into flames have created consumer jitters in gadget-happy Japan. Apple is downplaying the problem, pointing out that no major injuries or damage have been reported. The problem is due to defective batteries, the company said, and only a tiny percentage of the devices have caught on fire."
I like that. Only a "tiny percentage"... Is anybody beginning to understand why I would prefer that these devices not be allowed on airplanes?
iminplaya writes: One of the driest deserts in the world, the Saharan Tenere Desert, hosted at least two flourishing lakeside populations during the Stone Age, a discovery of the largest graveyard from the era reveals. The archaeological site in Niger, called Gobero, was discovered by Paul Sereno at the University of Chicago, during a dinosaur-hunting expedition. It had been used as a burial site by two very different populations during the millennia when the Sahara was lush. "The first people who used the Gobero cemetery were Kiffian, hunter-gatherers who grew up to two metres tall," says Elena Garcea of the University of Cassino in Italy and one of the scientists on the team. The large stature of the Kiffian suggests that food was plentiful during their time in Gobero, 10,000 to 8,000 years ago...All traces of the Kiffian vanish abruptly around 8,000 years ago, when the Sahara became very dry for a thousand years. When the rains returned, a different population, the Tenerians, who were of a shorter and more gracile build, based themselves at this site. Bones and artefacts dated to the Tenerian episode suggest that these people herded cattle and hunted fish and wildlife with tools that required less physical strength than those of the Kiffian. "The most amazing find so far is a grave with a female and two children hugging each other. They were carefully arranged in this position. This strongly indicated they had spiritual beliefs and cared for their dead," says Garcea.