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Submission + - EFF Asks FTC To Demand 'Truth In Labeling' For DRM (

An anonymous reader writes: Interesting move by Cory Doctorow and the EFF in sending some letters to the FTC making a strong case that DRM requires some "truth in labeling" details in order to make sure people know what they're buying. The argument is pretty straightforward (PDF): "The legal force behind DRM makes the issue of advance notice especially pressing. It’s bad enough to when a product is designed to prevent its owner from engaging in lawful, legitimate, desirable conduct — but when the owner is legally prohibited from reconfiguring the product to enable that conduct, it’s vital that they be informed of this restriction before they make a purchase, so that they might make an informed decision. Though many companies sell products with DRM encumbrances, few provide notice of these encumbrances. Of those that do, fewer still enumerate the restrictions in plain, prominent language. Of the few who do so, none mention the ability of the manufacturer to change the rules of the game after the fact, by updating the DRM through non-negotiable updates that remove functionality that was present at the time of purchase." In a separate letter (PDF) from EFF, along with a number of other consumer interest groups, but also content creators like Baen Books, Humble Bundle and McSweeney's, they suggest some ways that a labeling notice might work.

Comment Astounding that there's been so little change (Score 1) 702

I live in a country where the equivalent small change came in denominations of 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 in the 1960s. The metal used was cupro-nickel at that time.

Everything 25 and under has now been demonitised (since they weren't worth much any longer and weren't in demand), larger denominations (equivalent to 100, 200, 500, 1000) have been introduced, and metal usage has shifted first to aluminium and now stainless steel.

I thought that'd be just plain common sense, no matter where you live.

Comment You need a study for this? (Score 2, Interesting) 257

A couple of months ago, my mom sees me struggling to shove (not literally) some veggies down my kid's throat and goes, "Stop trying to force-feed her. Leave the food there and when she's hungry, she'll grab it herself".

Pretty obvious, no? A pity you need a team of researchers and a project to reach this momentous conclusion.

Submission + - Indian Supreme court reinforces "liberty of thought and expression"

palemantle writes: The Supreme Court overturned the controversial Section 66A of the IT Act which included a provision for a three-year jail term for sending "offensive" messages through "computer resource or a communication device".

In its judgement, the Supreme Court held "liberty of thought and expression as cardinal" and overturned the provision (66A) deeming it "unconstitutional".

The controversial provision has been in the news recently for an incident involving the arrest of a high school student, for posting allegedly "offsensive" content on Facebook about a local politician.

Comment Quasars? (Score 1) 129

I didn't realize that there was still skepticism about the existence of super-massive black holes. If nothing else, we've detected about 200000 quasars - just about the brightest objects in the known universe - each indicating the presence (and proximity) of a supermassive blackhole.

I thought the general consensus was that there was a supermassive black hole at the centre of every galaxy although only some of these were active, thus showing up as quasars.

Don't know about this image of the century hyperbole. Quasars are stunning enough and have been seen and studied for what fifty years now.

Submission + - Ron Wyden introduces bill to ban FBI 'backdoors' in tech products (

An anonymous reader writes: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is trying to proactively block FBI head James Comey's request for new rules that make tapping into devices easier. The Secure Data Act would ban agencies from making manufacturers alter their products to allow easier surveillance or search, something Comey has said is necessary as encryption becomes more common and more sophisticated. "Strong encryption and sound computer security is the best way to keep Americans' data safe from hackers and foreign threats," said Wyden in a statement. "It is the best way to protect our constitutional rights at a time when a person's whole life can often be found on his or her smartphone."

Comment Re:Good luck in Canada (Score 2) 115

Canada doesn't start wars. It ends them. We have committed more troops to UN peacekeeping efforts than any other country.

Sorry for nitpicking - and I'm really not trying to trivialize any country's peace contributions - but I can't find anything to back up this claim. Canada doesn't even seem to be in the top ten in terms of troop contributions.

I've checked:

Comment Sensationalize much? (Score 4, Interesting) 97

1 - ISight claims this has been a five year campaign and then add that "hackers began only in August to exploit a vulnerability found in most versions of Windows". So where did the "five year" timeline come from?

2 - "Russian hackers target NATO, Ukraine and others" the article screams and then we find this wishy washy explanation from ISight's John Hullquist on his claim about the hackers being Russian:
"Your targets almost certainly have to do with your interests. We see strong ties to Russian origins here".

Sounds like a bunch of FUD to me

Comment A chairman and a bunch of lawyers (Score 1) 179

Interesting that Google was represented by its executive chairman while Facebook, Microsoft and Dropbox seem to have been represented by their respective legal counsel.

Disclaimer: For all I know, other executives from Facebook, MS and Dropbox might well have been present but the article says nothing on that front.

Comment Kudos to PM Modi as well... (Score 3, Interesting) 173

Nice of the PM to visit and sit in on the last stage of the journey, putting science and scientists in the spotlight. Over here (NL) we hardly ever celebrate scientific successes, and accomplished scientists receive less attention and recognition from politicians than sports heroes.

Indeed, the Indian PM also tried to put this into perspective vis-a-vis sports wins with the following quote:
"This achievement is far greater than a cricket win"


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