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Submission + - Google quietly makes "optional" web DRM mandatory in Chrome 2

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: The World Wide Web Consortium's Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) is a DRM system for web video, being pushed by Netflix, movie studios, and a few broadcasters. It's been hugely controversial within the W3C and outside of it, but one argument that DRM defenders have made throughout the debate is that the DRM is optional, and if you don't like it, you don't have to use it. That's not true any more. Some time in the past few days, Google quietly updated Chrome (and derivative browsers like Chromium) so that Widevine (Google's version of EME) can no longer be disabled; it comes switched on and installed in every Chrome instance. Because of laws like section 1201 of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (and Canada's Bill C11, and EU implementations of Article 6 of the EUCD), browsers that have DRM in them are risky for security researchers to audit. These laws provide both criminal and civil penalties for those who tamper with DRM, even for legal, legitimate purposes, and courts and companies have interpreted this to mean that companies can punish security researchers who reveal defects in their products.

Vinyl Record Production Gets a Much-Needed Tech Upgrade ( 303

Ever wondered why you sometimes have to wait months after an album's launch to get the music on vinyl? It's not necessarily because the label hates vinyl -- in many cases, it's because the decades-old manufacturing process can't keep up with the format's resurgence. From a report on Engadget: Relief may be in sight for turntable fans, though. Viryl Technologies is producing a pressing machine system, WarmTone, that should drag vinyl production into the modern era. Much of WarmTone's improvement rests in its use of modern engineering. It's more reliable when producing the "pucks" that become records, makes it easier to switch out stampers (the negatives that press records) and sports a trimming/stacking system that can better handle large-scale production. Also, there's a raft of sensors -- the machine checks everything from pressure to temperature to timing, so companies will immediately know if something goes wrong.

Submission + - Assange detention sparks total cyberwar (

An anonymous reader writes: Anonymous, the group leading the denial-of-service attacks on those who arrayed themselves against detained Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange has itself come under fire from US "patriots", said Panda Labs. Assange's detention in London on Swedish allegations of sexual molestation unleashed total cyberwar between factions opposed to and supporting his publication of confidential and classified diplomatic despatches. Almost every organisation that lined up against Assange, Wikileaks and its supporters has fallen under heavy, coordinated distributed denial-of-service attacks as have those who launched them. From web hosts to US senators, no one is safe from the botnet armies.

Submission + - Town of Islip Steals Airport Website (

An anonymous reader writes: The town of Islip, New York, has successfully sued the operator of an unofficial website for their MacArthur Airport,, to take the domain name away. The website was set up in 2000, at the operators own cost, when the airport had no website. In 2007, the town approached the operators, Black Sheep Television Ltd., and worked with them to improve the website, again at no cost to the city, for the next year. In 2009, the town released it's own website using code it obtained through meetings with Black Sheep, and sued to gain control of the domains. Last week, a Federal Circuit Court judge, whose son happens to be an attorney for the town of Islip, ruled against the operators, awarding the domain name to the town.

Who Would Want To Be Obama's Cybersecurity Czar? 131

dasButcher writes "President Obama is expected to name a new cybersecurity czar sometime soon. This person will be charged with defending the digital boards from attack by hostile nation-states and terrorist organizations. But the question Larry Walsh asks is: Who really wants the job? The previous three people who held the post barely made a dent in solving the security problems. Government bureaucracy and private sector resistance make it nearly impossible to find any measure of meaningful success in this job, he writes." Reader eatcajun contributes a related link to the long-awaited US cyberspace policy review.

Submission + - All 44 Blackboard Patent Claims Invalidated (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "The US Patent & Trademark Office has invalidated all 44 claims in Blackboard's patent. While this is a non-final action (PDF), which means that Blackboard will be able to appeal, it does represent a win for the Software Freedom Law Center which had requested the reexamination of Blackboard's patent. It is not yet known how this will affect the $3.1M judgment Blackboard won from Desire2Learn. As with so many other patent cases, that lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas."

Submission + - Consumer group demands XP for Vista victims (

thefickler writes: Dissatisfaction with Windows Vista seems to be swelling, with the Dutch Consumers' Union (Consumentenbond) asking Microsoft to supply unhappy Vista users with a free copy of Windows XP. Not surprisingly, Microsoft refused. This prompted Consumentenbond to advise consumers to ask for XP, rather than Vista, when buying a new computer. Can this be going any more wrong for Microsoft?

Submission + - The Google Phone is a Reality.

MrCrassic writes: "It appears that Google is initiating talks with well-known PDA/smartphone manufacturer HTC to make the Google phone a reality. With impressive tech specs and an already impressive concept underway , could Google be the next company to make a mark in the wireless device industry? From the main article:

However, a recent report by CrunchGear states that its own sources at mobile handset provider HTC have tipped the site off to multiple gPhone handsets being prepped for launch in the first quarter of 2008 and that the handsets will be coming out of Taiwan. There will supposedly be over 20 different handsets to choose from — some with GPS — and they will carry special versions of Google Maps, Google Calendar, Gmail, and VoIP-enabled Google Talk. Speaking of software, Google is rumored to be developing its own operating system for the gPhone. According to reports by Engadget, the OS has been in development since 2005 after Google's acquisition of a mobile software company called Android. The Android team has since developed a Linux-based mobile OS while at Google — a detail that is corroborated by the CrunchGear report — which of course comes with tight Google integration. Both sites appear to agree that their sources indicate Google isn't currently looking to develop the hardware... for now.

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