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Seller of Counterfeit Video Games Gets 30 Months 165

wiredmikey writes "The FBI reported this week that Qiang 'Michael' Bi, of Powell, Ohio was sentenced to 30 months in prison for selling more than 35,000 illegally copied computer games over the Internet between 2005 and 2009. According to a statement of facts read during Bi's plea hearing, agents executed a search warrant at Bi's house and found multiple CD duplicators and more than 1,000 printed counterfeit CDs. Some of the CDs were still in the duplicator. During their investigation, agents learned that Bi would buy a single copy of a game, illegally duplicate it and sell the copies on and He also set up a website for customers to download the games they bought. Bi accepted payment through eBay and PayPal accounts in his name and in others' names."

The Push For Colbert's "Restoring Truthiness" Rally 703

jamie writes "A grassroots campaign has begun to get Stephen Colbert to hold a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to counter Glenn Beck's recent 'Restoring Honor' event. The would-be rally has been dubbed 'Restoring Truthiness' and was inspired by a recent post on Reddit, where a young woman wondered if the only way to point out the absurdity of the Tea Party's rally would be if Colbert mirrored it with his own Colbert Nation.'"

Comment Re:Bad joke (Score 1) 284

A private home or car is considered to be a private, exclusive area unless you explicitly know otherwise. A website is the exact opposite-it's like a storefront, or a restaurant, which a reasonable person would presume to be open to the public unless explicitly marked or set up otherwise.

All stores and restaurants have private areas -- the stock room, the kitchen, etc.-- that are *not* open to the public. If you're found in one of those employee-only areas then at best you'll be politely asked to leave -- at worst they'll call the cops. A website can be the same way, with public and private areas served up from the same domain.

And if you leave the door to your store unlocked after closing time, and I wander in, yes, that's totally acceptable, and I'm not trespassing unless I stay after you explicitly tell me to leave. Until you do, I'm making a reasonable assumption that a normally public place (a website on the public Internet, or a store) is open to the public (no access control mechanism is in place, or the front door of the store is not locked).

I am neither a lawyer nor a cop (IANALNAC?) but that fits my definition of trespassing pretty well. Most stores and restaurants are open maybe nine or ten hours a day. That means they're closed more often than they're open. The only reasonable assumption you can make is that you're not welcome unless you're obviously invited to come in.

If you check the law I think you'll find that businesses are not public spaces at all. Rather, they are private spaces into which the public is invited to enter. There are many cues we can use to determine if we are allowed in. Some of them are overt (does the sign say "Open" or "Closed"?) and some of them are subtle (are the lights on?) but nobody would deny that it's usually obvious when the invitation is being made and when it's not. The same holds true for a website. Anyone competent enough to find an unpublicized page on a website is also competent to know that they aren't welcome there. You wouldn't tolerate someone snooping behind every unlocked door in real life so why make excuses for it when it happens on the Internet?

Comment Re:More likely, (Score 1) 344

When *I* was in high school, myself and four or five of the top students had access to the full Windows 3.1 shell interface instead of the very restrictive toy shell the other students were forced to use. No hacking was necessary -- the teacher set it up for us. We even had his admin password so we could fix problems for other students.

I think the teacher was a bit overwhelmed by the school's new-fangled Pentium computers and appreciated the help. Actually, I think between us, we students probably did most of the network administration tasks he was supposed to do. None of us abused the privilege and nobody ever got accused of hacking.

Comment Re:Seems perfectly reasonable to me... (Score 1) 449

What I don't think they've fully thought out is the end-game. Possible options:

1) Google pays them. Google then starts getting invoices from every ISP around, from the little mom-and-pops to the tier-1s demanding a cut of the pie.

2) Google cuts them off so that the above doesn't happen. These ISPs customers start screaming "Why am I paying you for access to the Internet, when you aren't providing it?" and they start switching to other providers that aren't pulling this.

I don't think you've thought out what would happen if Google took option #2. If they started to selectively block certain ISPs then they would be facing a *huge* antitrust lawsuit. You can't use your dominance in one market to unfairly influence competition in another.

A better option for Google would be to start charging the customers of these ISPs. After all, isn't that what any corporation does when faced with rising costs? They pass those costs right on to the customer so it doesn't affect their bottom line. Suddenly "free access to Google" would be a real selling feature for any ISP that *doesn't* try to extract money from Google. In the end you'd have the same effect: customers would switch to ISPs that are more favorable to Google, but they'd definitely have a strong defense against any antitrust charges.

The Almighty Buck

Virtual Currency Becomes Real In South Korea 203

garylian writes "Massively is reporting that the South Korean Supreme Court has stated that virtual currency is the equivalent of real-world money. For those of you who might not be drawing the link, the core there is that selling in-game currency for real money is essentially just an exchange of currency and perfectly legal in South Korea. This could have sweeping implications for RMT operations the world over, not to mention free-to-play games and... well, online games in general. The official story is available online from JoongAng Daily."

A Hyper-Velocity Impact In the Asteroid Belt? 114

astroengine writes "Astronomers have spotted something rather odd in the asteroid belt. It looks like a comet, but it's got a circular orbit, similar to an asteroid. Whether it's an asteroid or a comet, it has a long, comet-like tail, suggesting something is being vented into space. Some experts think it could be a very rare comet/asteroid hybrid being heated by the sun, but there's an even more exciting possibility: It could be the first ever observation of two asteroids colliding in the asteroid belt."

Best Man Rigs Newlyweds' Bed To Tweet During Sex 272

When an UK man was asked to be the best man at a friend's wedding he agreed that he would not pull any pranks before or during the ceremony. Now the groom wishes he had extended the agreement to after the blessed occasion as well. The best man snuck into the newlyweds' house while they were away on their honeymoon and placed a pressure-sensitive device under their mattress. The device now automatically tweets when the couple have sex. The updates include the length of activity and how vigorous the act was on a scale of 1-10.

Saboteur Launch Plagued By Problems With ATI Cards 230

An anonymous reader writes "So far, there are over 35 pages of people posting about why EA released Pandemic Studios' final game, Saboteur, to first the EU on December 4th and then, after knowing full well it did not work properly, to the Americas on December 8th. They have been promising to work on a patch that is apparently now in the QA stage of testing. It is not a small bug; rather, if you have an ATI video card and either Windows 7 or Windows Vista, the majority (90%) of users have the game crash after the title screen. Since the marketshare for ATI is nearly equal to that of Nvidia, and the ATI logo is adorning the front page of the Saboteur website, it seems like quite a large mistake to release the game in its current state."

Jetman Attempts Intercontinental Flight 140

Last year we ran the story of Yves Rossy and his DIY jetwings. Yves spent $190,000 and countless hours building a set of jet-powered wings which he used to cross the English Channel. Rossy's next goal is to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, from Tangier in Morocco and Tarifa on the southwestern tip of Spain. From the article: "Using a four-cylinder jet pack and carbon fibre wings spanning over 8ft, he will jump out of a plane at 6,500 ft and cruise at 130 mph until he reaches the Spanish coast, when he will parachute to earth." Update 18:57 GMT: mytrip writes: "Yves Rossy took off from Tangiers but five minutes into an expected 15-minute flight he was obliged to ditch into the wind-swept waters."

Comment Expectations? (Score 1) 316

Why is the law based on what a person expects? Which person are we talking about here? I think it's fair to say that the average computer user considers e-mail to be like regular mail, where reading the contents requires that you "open" the e-mail. Heck, every e-mail program I can think of uses that metaphor! But I know that e-mail is more like a post-card, with the contents right out there in the open for anyone to see. Because of that, I don't expect a whole lot of privacy. Does that mean I deserve less protection under the law?

This shows the flaw in the idea that some information (to and from addresses, etc) is on the "outside" of the envelope while the contents are on the "inside". There is no "inside" when it comes to e-mail! Anyone who has access to the "outside" information has access to everything. What does it matter if the average user expects their e-mail to behave like regular mail when the reality is more like a postcard? Making the law fit people's perceptions seems like trying to impose some kind of schizophrenic world-view on our law-enforcement officers. They can't both read the e-mail headers and ignore the contents, that's a recipe that's just asking for abuse.

We need a reality check, people, and the solution seems painfully obvious to me: if you want privacy then use end-to-end encryption. It's the only way to be (reasonably) sure that no-one is reading your mail except for the intended recipient.

Comment A Bigger Worry (Score 4, Interesting) 74

Never assume your adversary is incompetent. If they can easily find and block all IP addresses used by this program, then why would they choose not to? I can think of one possibility, and it doesn't bode well for people who are using this program under the belief that it will protect their anonymity. We all know that monitoring *all* Internet traffic into and out of a country (especially one as populous as China) is a futile task. But suppose you could identify which fraction of those connections are specifically trying to evade government controls? Wouldn't it make sense to focus your attention on those connections? And instead of blocking them out right, why not trace them back to their source? Even if you can't decrypt the traffic, you can at least identify those "subversives" that could be in need of "reeducation". And remember that just because you choose to block those connections *right now* doesn't mean you can't start blocking them at some point in the future.

Comment Re:Simon Singh (Score 1) 216

What you describe is not so much security through obscurity as simply security through not being worth the effort to crack. In some sense that's true of *every* security solution. Not every bank vault needs to be Fort Knox, not every e-mail needs to be protected by 4096 bit encryption. You match the level of security to the value of the target. So what you really have is a low-security solution protecting a low-value target, which is fine so long as you really don't value your bike (or your porn collection) very highly.

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