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Ford To Introduce Restrictive Car Keys For Parents 1224

thesandbender writes "Ford is set to release a management system that will restrict certain aspects of a car's performance based on which key is in the ignition. The speed is limited to 80, you can't turn off traction control, and you can't turn the stereo up to eleven. It's targeted at parents of teenagers and seems like a generally good idea, especially if you get a break on your insurance." The keys will be introduced with the 2010 Focus coupe and will quickly spread to Ford's entire lineup.

A Device to Grab Data From Cell Phones 161

what about writes "Apparently there is a quick, simple, and undetectable way to grab all of your cellphone data. CNet reports on the Cellular Seizure Investigation (CSI) Stick, developed for law enforcement but available to the public, which 'connects to the data/charging port and will seamlessly grab e-mails, instant messages, dialed numbers, phone books and anything else that is stored in memory. It will even retrieve deleted files that have not been overwritten. And there is no trace whatsoever that the information has been compromised, nor any risk of corruption. This may be especially troublesome for corporate employees and those that work for government agencies.' I use mobile knox, a secure storage application, for my important data, but I would be very upset if somebody grabbed my telephone list, SMS, or anything else from my locked phone."

Black Screens For Unauthorized Copies of Windows 762

arcticstoat writes "In a bid to deter people from using pirate versions of Windows XP, Microsoft is now updating its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) tool to introduce a few uncomfortable niggles for users of pirated versions of Windows. These include replacing the desktop wallpaper with a black screen every 60 minutes, although you can still replace it with your wallpaper of choice in the intervening period. As well as this, copies of Windows deemed to not be genuine will also have a translucent watermark above the system tray, which Microsoft calls a 'persistent desktop notification.'"

Will W3C Accept DRM For Webfonts? 315

dotne writes "Microsoft has submitted Embedded OpenType (EOT) to W3C and a slimy campaign for EOT has been launched. EOT is a DRM layer on top of normal TrueType/Opentype files; EOT ties a font file to a certain web page or site and prevents reuse by other pages/sites. Microsoft's IE has supported EOT for years, but it has largely been ignored due to the clumsiness of having to regenerate font files when a page changes. Now that other browsers are moving to support normal TrueType and OpenType on the web (Safari, Opera, Mozilla, Prince), W3C is faced with a question: should they bless Microsoft's EOT for use on the web? Or, should they encourage normal font files on the web and help break Microsoft's forgotten monopoly?"

Dual Boot Not Trusted, Rejected By Vista SP1 525

Alsee writes "Welcome to our first real taste of Trusted Computing: With Vista Enterprise and Vista Ultimate, Service Pack 1 refuses to install on dual boot systems. Trusted Computing is one of the many things that got cut from Vista, but traces of it remain in BitLocker, and that is the problem. The Service Pack patch to your system will invalidate your Trust chain if you are not running the Microsoft-approved Microsoft-trusted boot loader, or if you make other similar unapproved modifications to your system. The Trust chip (the TPM) will then refuse to give you your key to unlock your own hard drive. If you are not running BitLocker then a workaround is available: Switch back to Microsoft's Vista-only boot mode, install the Service Pack, then reapply your dual boot loader. If you are running BitLocker, or if Microsoft resumes implementing Trusted Computing, then you are S.O.L."

Yahoo! Music Going Dark, Taking Keys With It 396

iminplaya writes with a link to an excellent article at Ars Technica, extracting from it a few choice nuggets: "The bad dream of DRM continues. Yahoo e-mailed its Yahoo! Music Store customers yesterday, telling them it will be closing for good — and the company will take its DRM license key servers offline on September 30, 2008. Sure, it's bad news and yet another example of the sheer lobotomized brain-deadness that has characterized music DRM, but the reaction of most music fans will be: 'Yahoo had an online music store?'... DRM makes things harder for legal users; it creates hassles that illegal users won't deal with; it (often) prevents cross-platform compatibility and movement between devices. In what possible world was that a good strategy for building up the nascent digital download market? The only possible rationales could be 1) to control piracy (which, obviously, it has had no effect on, thanks to the CD and the fact that most DRM is broken) or 2) to nickel-and-dime consumers into accepting a new pay-for-use regime that sees moving tracks from CD to computer to MP3 player as a 'privilege' to be monetized."

Dell Colludes With RIAA, Disables Stereo Mix 377

RCTrucker7 writes with a link to a Maximum PC story, which begins: "Details of Dell's surreptitious collusion with RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) have emerged. Apparently, the computer manufacturer disabled the Stereo Mix/Mono Mix/Wave Out sound recording function on certain notebooks to assuage RIAA. The hardware functionality is being disabled without any prior notice and one blogger has even alleged that he was asked by Dell's customer support staff to [shell] out $99 if he desired the stereo mix option. Gateway and Pac Bell are the other two manufacturers to have bowed to RIAA at the expense of their customers' satisfaction and disabled stereo mix without warning." (There are some workarounds posted in the comments of the linked article.)

Digital TV Foreshadows Erosion of Net Rights 312

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Tom Yager offers insight on how digital TV is rapidly heading toward the kind of lockdown that entertainment and broadcast lobbies desire for the Internet. Standards such as HDMI and HDCP are acting in concert to strip your equipment of its functionality, displaying 'incompatibility' messages when plugged into older HDMI-enabled devices, shutting down analog outputs when active, and requiring balky handshake credentials that force many consumers to reboot their TVs to recover permission to watch them. Even broadcast flagging, which has been overturned by the Court of Appeals, is still on the de-facto table, as the entertainment lobby retains the power to bully technology companies into baking broadcast flagging into their wares. Sure, digital TV has far fewer points of origin than the Internet and is therefore easier to control, but, as Yager writes, 'Internet rights restrictions come through your telecommunications equipment' — and it is likely through that equipment that the entertainment and broadcast lobbies will chip away at your rights on the Web."

Microchips With Multiple "Selves" 143

Stony Stevenson brings news from Rice University about designing integrated circuits with multiple distinct identities, which could be used in new types of hardware-based DRM, among other things. From the news release: "'With "n-variant" integrated circuits, it is possible to design portable media players that are inherently unique,' said Farinaz Koushanfar, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice and principal investigator on the project. 'New methods of digital rights management can be built upon such devices. For example, media files can be made such that they only run on a certain variant and cannot be played by another.' Koushanfar said content providers could also use n-variant chips to sell metered access to software, music or movies because the chips can be programmed to switch from one variant to another at a particular time or after a file has been accessed a certain number of times."

Microsoft Applies For "Digital Manners" Patent 289

SirLurksAlot writes "Ars Technica reports that Microsoft has recently applied for a patent for a technology which would attempt to enforce manners in the use of cell phones, digital cameras, DVRs and other digital devices. According to the article, the technology could be used to bring common social conventions such as 'No flash photography' and 'No talking out loud' to these devices by disabling features or disabling the device entirely. The article also points out that the technology could be implemented in situations involving sensitive equipment, such as in airplanes or hospitals. The patent application itself is also an interesting read, as it describes a number of possible uses for the technology, including 'in particular zones to limit the speed and/or acceleration of vehicles, to require the use of lights, to verify an indication of insurance coverage and/or current registration, or the like.' While this technology could certainly be of interest to any number of organizations one has to wonder how the individuals who own devices which obey so-called 'Digital Manners Policies' would feel about it."

The One-Use, Self-Destructing DVD Returns 561

BonrHanzon writes "Looks like DivX (the stupid one, not the codec) has been resurrected in the form of Flexplay. Staples will be selling these movie disks for 5 bucks a pop at the checkout counter. The disks can be played in any DVD player, but a special adhesive will render the disk unplayable 48 hours after the package has been opened. As if our landfills weren't already overflowing with enough crap." The blog post notes that Flexplay has actually been around for 5 years; the Staples distribution deal is what's new.

Inside the Tech of the Roku Netflix Player 100

MojoKid writes "A little over a week ago Netflix unveiled the Netflix Player, developed by the team at Roku, a set-top box for watching on-demand movies and TV. This interview with Tim Twerdahl, the VP of Consumer Products for Roku, goes into some detail about the guts of the box and the future of the set-top box. Of course the system runs an embedded Linux OS, but interestingly also runs on a Nexperia (Philips) media processor."

New Agreement May End the Cable Box 216

esocid clues us to news that Sony and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association have come to agreement on the way forward for two-way TV without set-top boxes. The actual agreement was not made public, pending review by other members of the Consumer Electronics Association, and as a result the coverage of the agreement is uniformly pretty incoherent. The background is that the NCTA and the CEA submitted competing proposals to the FCC on how to handle two-way, interactive TV services. None of the articles I turned up made clear what the future of the CableCard is to be. This was an interim solution to allow competition in set-top box manufacture, but its adoption has been plagued with problems. "Sony and the cable companies — Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision, and Bright House Networks — agreed to adopt: the Java-based 'tru2way' solution powered by CableLabs; new streamlined technology licenses; and new ways for all those involved to cooperate in the development of tru2way technology at CableLabs."

Microsoft Acknowledges NBC's Wish is Its Command 417

theodp writes "Responding to questions about why some users of Windows Vista Media Center were prevented from recording the NBC Universal TV shows 'American Gladiator' and 'Medium,' Microsoft has acknowledged that Windows Media Centers will block users from recording TV shows at the request of a broadcaster. 'Microsoft included technologies in Windows based on rules set forth by the (Federal Communications Commission),' wrote a Microsoft spokeswoman, apparently referring to an FCC proposal that the courts struck down in 2005. 'Microsoft has put the requirements of broadcasters above what consumers want,' said the EFF's Danny O'Brien. 'They've imposed restrictions way beyond what the law requires. Customers need to know who Microsoft is listening to and how that affects their equipment. Right now, the only way customers know what Microsoft has agreed to is when the technology they've bought suddenly stops working. Microsoft needs to come clean and tell its customers what deals it has made.'"

A Copyright Cop In Every Zune 454

Mike writes "As if the Zune wasn't already crippled and unpopular enough, now comes a story indicating that Microsoft may build a 'Copyright Cop' into every Zune. A future update of the software for Microsoft's portable media player will likely include a 'feature' that will block unauthorized copies of copyrighted videos from being played on it. The president of digital distribution for NBC, J. B. Perrette, said the plan is to create 'filtering technology that allows for playback of legitimately purchased content versus non-legitimately purchased content.' Of course there's no way to tell legitimate content that you create from 'non-legitimate' content, so this looks like just another nail in the coffin of the Zune." Update: 05/08 20:50 GMT by T : From Microsoft employee Cesar Menendez comes this categorical denial of any such filtering mechanism.

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We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall